Tag Archives: vignette


once we were a melody

a slow string of harmonic words
abundant sentences
like flowers in spring

our syllables moved wind
to wheat

mathematically, forgiveness is
a top-heavy relationship

and in the sum of reduction
one becomes whole
while the other, a remainder

I have assumed the shape of water
of air

in a cloud
or a balloon

I must be poetry
I am fluid

the slow blue leak of
sky or sea or hope

I believe it’s a sign
maybe a malignancy
a cancer

heavy is this lifetime that
rains snow
each day colder than the last
but predictable
the way it falls with certainty
and purpose

and I feel compelled
to cut up the whiteness
like cocaine
and fill sinuses with misery
or all the color of pocket-stains

and then
yellow streamed through my window
slanted, sideways

but I am disabled

numb and broken-winged
before the open sun

lah  6.15.12 ©®


~because addiction is a bitch

the sun has yet to reach the east. in this thin-skinned room of dark hours comes a gathering of static & hallucinations. too many coronas, too many blunts & a labyrinth of unlabeled, unprescribed brown bottles litter the floor. clockhands crawl the wall, pointing, as if to mock his unsleep. photos tremble, echo the missing voices of a summer, passed away. he buries the unraveling; ink on the page, ink on the skin. night is needling him. night is heavy with fireflies, heavy with owls.

behind the steel bars
appears the lonely June moon
again & again

this could be
the beginning
of a poem

the crumbling
of words
to creosote
& bone ash

a cauterization
of metaphors
before the spread

like tumors
like rumors

wild throats swallow
xanax with pez
wash down whiskey
with jagermeister
& cans of diet cocaine

he will stand at the altar
recite bible passages
to skeletons of
a former self
to angels
with glittered wings

when a lost son rises
whole again, the wind
returns to the sky
lah 5.15.16 ©®

~reactive depression



the river craves an impossible blue

between us, a few words from here
a small color
inches along her veins

the long-grass swallows
another january

buries the morning chill
roots within a rusted hinge

foothills hesitate against
the clouds

time recollects absence

like cemetery air
like moss between bones

to the north of sunday
everything is sky
everything has wings

nothing right is left


©  lori hamilton




age: 27
black naturally forgets
it is a color
and simply assumes a space

forgets our necessary moon

          those lies

age: 6
flesh swells from manipulation
of being picked
too soon

unripe cherries still bleed

in the beginning
I was naked hands
and suspicious hips

a half-announced uprush
of choice words and

the salvage of saltwind

an unsmiling sun

age: 35
freckles connect on
unfolded thighs
an arc of pelvis

shifting weight is lifted
with a buoyancy of bodies
shaped like patience

and monogamy

now my foot is snared

scatter the ashes
rupture the heart

a muddy ohio river
is too narrow to hold

this many dead souls

age: 39
in the mirror I whisper to a creased

there are reasons for
stone pillows and
pale wildflowers

and bottoms of bacardi bottles
where it hurts to breathe

tiny bodies at rest

the incurable in-

blue words always dissolve
in ink and water

©  lori hamilton

~the nature of things



I only write small details

for instance, the way a softening sun

leans earthward
as it pawns its grace

wilts with the west-wind

and an uncertain sky quietly aborts
its crying clouds
as a half-written alphabet of
collapses to the ground

hooved arcs are left like commas to
punctuate this field of contemptuous

there’s a cancer contained in my
its dead skin decomposes
beneath a sterile white bandage

these tumored trees
cradle knots in broken bark 

coagulate the sounds of
gasping air

their small breaths
their shadows falling


the hemlocks wait impatiently
to dance
to drop their lacy cotton dresses
as an expression of discontent

to sway in the sun like cruelly

beautiful women

 ©  lori hamilton





i. december

with nothing left to harvest

of a chillblain night

old stars burn swiftly

and collapse to metaphors

tremor my memory’s edge

          like tongues

keeping conversation with

palsied premonitions

it’s as if even a rusted moon resists

the imperfections of my half-naked


a slight shift of light

an unraveling of reasons

seasons shuttered

to a darkened house

the familiar blur

ii. january

hourly, through this relentless

cold baptism 

I stoke the backfire

underneath the kindling of napalm

and molecules smolders

a consummation

a cause and effect

the escaping dark column 

creates a cloudbank

          some kind of smokescreen

that passes by my half-sighted pane

perhaps pollution of the dead


an inarticulate darkening

iii. february

cancel now this grieving 

from my green eyes

contain all things off white

and winter-wounded

or remain widowed black

buried beneath a grey-haired horizon

eavesdrop from that cemented ceiling

to a voice unearthed

a reversal of sighs

as if the sound of leaden trees

          all bare-armed and longing

becomes an allegory of nous

an unlikely song

iv. march

as slow as sunday snow

I shred the advancing shadows

of eleven hours of damp ink

and build a papernest

vowing to become a bird

– uncaged

feathers preened, softened for flight

pulled the same way virgin petals stare


like pillars of melting smoke

find me now


my slowfade into blue

I am wingspread

 ©  lori hamilton





few dare to come

to the edge of mourning

               where she grieves

the quickening

where soft meadow meets

an angry sun

               its insistent loud rising

always argues against the dawn


perhaps you thought

tuesday a new beginning

yet it arrives

a bruised pronunciation

of beating wings

               their familiar

               shade of winterblue


the half-drunk tree

leaves behind

as if to drown

a bird’s flight

old oak slumping over


limbs propped against

an aging sky


tremble not

for stopped clocks

a wooden box

               borrowed from the grave

tremble not

the darkening as two shadows


the rain will arrive soon

to spoil their appearance


she was earth

               the grounding

buried syllables, deeply rooted

noticeably red and


holding the stillborn

she was soiled

the river once licked her hands

and swiftly ran away

©  lori hamilton

~склон горы




shiver softly, mountain spine

uncover your leaking white bandages

release the clotted wounds

fever of snowmelt fills

this mossy-green valley

thrashes its riverbeds

          like young lovers

an hour after sunrise


heed, sinners 

the churchbell’s bitter copper tongue

lashes out

and elsewhere, god is whispering

a barely white


          slight as wings

breaking february’s last darkness

distilled before the budding begins


redbirds stain

strain a fenceline

nodding to the swift trod 

of horsecarts


black-shawled elder women,


and dull-eyed

gather wood from the cellar


apron pockets of

cabbages and rhubarb

dutiful hands, calloused

          and knowing

kneading the necessary


flouring by the window


in the sooner distance

a voice much like ana’s


between candle and curtain

echoes of russia, calling


©  lori hamilton

~tilting the axis




my body remembers


there is intimacy

in a reticent sky

how it sounds like

the blues

               noted and


some song of drunkenness


in flattened C major


twenty-eight suns have

surrendered to february

crossed over the equivalent center

since we began to equate

the dynamic in counting clouds

               like doves

               and wedded bliss

an old moon

once perfectly round

has split in half

held in place by the grace

of gravity

cradled by persuasive darkness


secrets of light seduce

without warning

               time holds beneath dew

gathers on bones of morning

finds the soft edge, a hushed meadow

deer bedded in ragweed

               and prayers

where uneasy air startles

these drowsy fawns

muscle to flesh, reducing the reach

that space between mother

and child

the doe knows

wind is made of intuition


rearrange memories

              cleave the chest

acres of eyes

will dampen the stones

               rattle stars in a nightsky

a small voice

a thousand wings


 ©  lori hamilton

~the colors of condolence



x. blue

notice the still-life

          a landscape of salt

this is the way

it must stay

until the end of rain

x. black

grip the brass

like long movements on a slide trombone


x. yellow

there is no hesitation from

migrating birds

as they navigate upward, the direction

of sky

yet still

I will barter


my half-halo for their wings

x. grey

bent spines

          bent knees

we are lower than

we were

we are wood

behind the nail

x. white

below the windowsill

of a poet

the oleander is personified

like a white flag

          waving, waving

I nod my head

and walk away

 ©  lori hamilton