Love is so Kind
At the fire museum, you are a wooden box
in the shape of a blue house. I touch you
tenderly when the guard isn’t looking, when
he’s texting his girlfriend. Your shingles feel
like the underside of a turtle, with a faint
vibration of heat. I stick my head inside you:
you are full of pink buckets, and the organs
in the plastic buckets are talking to themselves.
You only burn the ones you love, a lung is crying.
I wonder if the texting guard can hear. Don’t worry,
you whisper into my neck. No one ever remembers
how it gets started.
The One by Hitchcock
She is washing her hands. She is removing a tiny
yorkie from her pocket. She fastens it to my jacket.
I tell it something quiet and weird, a secret,
if you must know. She tells me the neighbors are
curious, that they wonder about the ditches I uncover,
and then fall into the next day. I tell her I’m busy
remembering your mouth, how still it was, frozen,
although your eyes moved like the pupils of an electric
cat-clock. In this case, the tongue makes a particular,
delicate movement, like a scrimshaw, a missing screw,
a gold ring with a compartment holding powder,
a lock of hair transformed into a weeping willow.
A grain of rice engraved with an image of a book,
a candle, a bell. Would you like to know the secret yet?
Or perhaps not. The word was your name, you are hoping,
I know. The yorkie wasn’t real, don’t worry. It was enamel
on bronze, and the pin broke the next week. I have forgotten
how your name sounds already; how can I hope you will read
this? Many years ago, you moved on to some other man
or woman – you’re probably not even
a poet anymore, or a blonde.
An MFA student at Columbia, Christine Hamm has an English PhD, and is an editor for Ping*Pong Free Press. Her poetry has been published in Orbis, Nat Brut, BODY, Painted Bride Quarterly, Rattle, and Dark Sky. The New Orleans Review published Christine’s chapbook, A is for Afterimage, and nominated it for a Pushcart. In 2017, Ghostbird Press is publishing her chapbook Notes on Wolves and Ruin.