Monday, December 13, 2010


Then I'm on my knees in the street of our
summer, my brother staring from his trike,

his lips a pinked oh, blood pooling
honey-like from my mouth, the fresh, car-

washed cars circling like frightened cats --
a scar forming in my throat that will never

heal. This is all your fault, I am trying to say.
The dalmatian reaches for me with a gull cry,

his leash staked to the dying spruce of our
yard. Our mother hums sadly, watching us

through the screen door. In the distance, I
hear someone mow a lawn: sputter, chug, stall.


Dana said...


Elisabeth said...

This is an extraordinary poem, devastating in its evocation of a childhood trauma that is almost unbearable to contemplate.

To me it has the raw power of W H Auden's 'Stop all the clocks... '

Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,
Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,
Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.

Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead
Scribbling on the sky the message He Is Dead,
Put crepe bows round the white necks of the public doves,
Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves.

He was my North, my South, my East and West,
My working week and my Sunday rest,
My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;
I thought that love would last for ever: I was wrong.

The stars are not wanted now: put out every one;
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun;
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood.
For nothing now can ever come to any good.

Christine E. Hamm, Poet/Professor/Painter said...

Thanks so much, Dana and Elisabeth.

Anonymous said...

such a great poem. as always. the "gull cry" is especially powerful for some untouchable reason...

-Barry Napier

Radish King said...

Heartbreaking, Christine.

keed said...

incredible poem

Christine E. Hamm, Poet/Professor/Painter said...

Thanks so much, Rebecca and Billy!