the poetry that matters

Christine Hamm

Christine Hamm has a doctorate in modern American poetry and teaches writing and lit in NYC. She has published three books of poetry -- her most recent book, Echo Park, came out from Blazevox. She is the former poetry editor for Ping*Pong journal, published by the Henry Miller Library in Big Sur.


Your Boat



Everyone is wishing you'd leave, here in the library of empty waves.


Sewing and fishing are the same: patience, repetition, blood.

I am sewing a red bird

to the hem of your work jeans.


Everyone is wishing.


You sit on my lap, chew your fingernails and twitch.

The librarian turns up the white noise, hoping you'll be drowned out.

She waves

                with a flag made with what's left


of her underwear.   You throw her

                                                                a thigh bone.  She growls, buries the bone

                                                                                                                with her little paws


in a sky colored nonspecific:


                                the moon mumbles

Huge white flakes sift down from the clouds, cover the stern, the bow.


                                                                                                A loose sail whines without wind.

The snow turns to feeble moths, either drunk or slowly dying.

One lands on your eye. You whimper and freeze.


We all fall into the earth,

                                                                                                into the shoebox of your accident.


The water starts over with what's left.




Your Boat



                You call for me as if I could hear, your voice

a phone's drowsy ring.


(I feel most myself when I am falling)


After you knot cords around a cleat, you tuck

my sky-blue baseball cap under the photo


of my mother kneeling,

under the cracked bowl of porridge.


(ashes, ashes, we all fall down)


You shuck your bloody deck shoes over the gunnel.


                                                I left your names for me: mousetrap,


rat bait, poison cake.


                                The clouds vomit

                                                                like a sick daughter.




Your Boat


You are wearing my rocks on your head,

still holding me just under

the surface.


My yellow one-piece, covered with star

-fish and clamshells, fills

with bubbles, writhes


and subsides. I kick at you with my pink

galoshes – one broken strap flailing

– but they are filled


with water, heavy, and I

never quite reach your arms.


                                                                                                     January 8, 2013