Tag Archives: dedication

~mourning walk



I’m not a purple flush
that bridges the halted rain

I’m not old conversations
and vertical poetry
left behind in creases of black and white

I’m not in the photo
I trace
one finger following
the whiskered bend of jawbone
half-expecting to feel a pulse

you’re not awake
and I’m not january
just beginning to understand the cold

I’m not buried
yet I’m muddied

I’m salty and unearthed
unsettled in the distance between who I am
and who I used to be
I kneel before a stone the shape of

and the silence
– god, the silence
it whimpers, too
an annunciation
disguised as wind

and I swear it’s mocking me

for not knowing
how to untangle the not’s

©  lori hamilton


~free versification



come now, observe

the intimate connection between salt

and wounds

          shadows and light




examine each pale inch of flesh

or moon

and discover there are a million miles

of nerves

that navigate a disguise



trellis the juxtaposition in ivied words

unwind kite-strings of forepoets

to sail paper vestiges a century’s




and when the sun goes down after a day

          of no sun

let it be neruda’s syllabic prowess 

to suddenly interrupt my sky



how he frays clouds

from chalk-fingers

and scribes south american stars

into poetry


©  lori hamilton




between the second country curve

and first mail-pouch painted


ditched upside down

between roadkill

and exhausted mufflers

laid an unholy wreckage

like body separated from


and I’ve never been able to

          write about it

how the snow belt tightened

four inches around my throat

at four a.m.

how I knee-dropped

faster than falling mercury

that old familiar phone ring

still stings behind the ribs

handset braided to my ear

like his fingers in my hair

          just hours before

a brother’s shivering voice

echoed canyon-deep

a mother’s cries constricted

through the receiver

muffled by darkness

melting salt from

my teenage eyes

he died that january

          instantly, they said

never felt the cold burn

the dark agony before the


coming to rest beside broken glass

and aluminum cans

          crushed, like cheekbones

          and vertebrae


metal bent to triangles

possibility tossed among brittle 


a pack of marlboros, half-buried

just another snow-covered shade

of red

it’s january again

a reminder that you can’t recycle

first love

he can only remain an apparition

a colorless fog following me

through countless winters

a lost arc in an ill-fated sky

          too grey to make rainbows

©  lori hamilton

~pinky swears



our breath smelled like gumballs

and we took turns counting

freckles on the other’s nose

it was summer before second-grade, 1973

we were best friends forever, lisa and I

two peas in matching pigtails and polyester

bonded by pinky swears

we hung upside down from her maple tree

squished footprints in mud

along the edge of her frontyard pond

laid in thick grass for hours

whispering how we wanted to

kiss scottie denoon behind

the big playground sliding board

because he was the cutest boy in school

we answered all the important questions

seven year old girls have

with daisy petals and magic 8-balls

made wishes on shooting stars and

fallen lashes

          and I used to wish most of all

          that my eyes could be the same

          shade of blue as hers

          it was like god himself cut out tiny 

          circles of sky

we spent every weekend together

on bicycles and horseback

danced together, skipped arm-in-arm

chased butterflies through wildflowers

beside her pasture field

discovered the beauty in flight 

and the significance of wings 

she was absent from school when

her dad called my dad that friday evening

me, busily packing my holly hobby


some kind of flu, they thought and

we would surely play together the following


she collapsed in the driveway, riding her bike

          an aneurysm burst in her brain

she died in her mother’s arms, in the rough

gravel, her blue eyes open, staring heavenward

          she was seven

          and we were best friends forever

when my youngest daughter was born, she had

those same eyes, carved from a summer sky

it was a hot july day that we brought her home

from the hospital, sat her carseat on the picnic table

as family gathered around to meet her and almost

immediately, the most beautiful brandeis butterfly paused

on my shoulder, fluttering, as if to remind me of 

          the beauty found in blue and 

          the significance of wings

©  lori hamilton