Three Poems by Christine Hamm
The Wedding Night
My husband walks in, his hand
on the back of a fox, kicking
the door shut behind him with his heel,
and he says. Staring at my neck
with the eyes of Mary after she found
the lamb. As he fingers his long braid,
smelling of jasmine and bone dust.
My husband says.
My husband with the crooked crown,
with the half-seeing eye.
With the thumb that wanders while he sleeps.
My husband limps to the fireplace,
trailed by the bespectacled dog and bear;
my husband lifts the lid. To the murmuring,
bubbling, black-bellied pot. The pot says,
get your filthy feet off my new red carpet,
before my husband. Tips
the bitter soup into the fire. As the fire dies,
cursing and spitting.
He says, Don't. My husband says, Don't let
your fairytales get in the way of my mouth.
my brother, who once threw a glass
of Pepsi in my face after smoking
two joints at a party where he didn't
feel especially welcome, who once
ran our mother's Datsun over a row
of ancient begonias, who was an invisible
fingernail rip in a condom, as our mother
announced one Christmas over the cheese
plate, who lives alone in a small room
with a sink and a bird, and who calls
me once a year, always on the wrong
day, and sings, I just wanted
to wish you a Happy New Year
The Fireman's Wife
1. The Dance of the Pink Elephant
Tell me about the bucket,
I asked him, as he stared
at the bucket.
It was a battered, ugly
bucket, stained and reeking
He kicked the bucket
into the corner and it tangled
around his ankle, making
a terrible racket. I don't know
what you're talking about, he said,
his hands busy, I don't see
2. The Big House
I always planned
to have a big house,
he said. A big house
and a big black car. No,
two big cars. And you
were always in that house,
waiting for me.
3. His Business Card
I don't understand
why you're leaving me,
he said as I pulled down
the charred curtains and
stuffed them into a garbage bag.
the burning dining room table,
mice with singed tails
stampeded across our cats.
I love you, he said,
and things are
going so well.