Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Christine Hamm

How One Cat Holds The Other

Tongue dipping into an ear, white
paw fixed over the other's neck.
Low growling. Whiskers lifting,
repointed. Black back paw tap-
ping like an impatient tap-dance
rat the door. What serves as an
orange elbow, crooked and in
the air. White fur on red, like a fur
sandwich or a pie made of fur.

The Dad Parade

how they disappeared each morning
in silver or blue cars smelling

of old newspapers
before we had even fought

our way out from under
the heavy dreams of sinking boats

and black lakes, of the family
cat stuck in the oak at the edge

of the park and us wearing
mittens and no pants,

with no way to climb
without falling down and down

Forgetting The Words

the six-inch cardboard city on the left
is overrun with trembling strings of flame,

the rising cotton balls of smoke form horses
and silverware, the wolves, their pink wax

lips curled into slick waves of desire and rage,
are so close to us, to the woman holding a baby

to her chest: her wig of real human hair sprayed stiff
as if whipped by wind across her eyes, barefoot,

though the plaster snow, with its painted crescents
of shadow, is up to her knees

Our Last Big Fight

We are outside, surrounded
by women with empty mouths.
They stand under tents, behind
rows of books. They hand us
little pieces of paper, their eyes
searching our eyes, as if they
might recognize us, as if we
are merely waiting
for the right moment to tell
them we are cousins, to give
them a gift.

I turn towards them;
you walk away.
Darkness approaches like a horrible
dress or a loud, broken train.

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