House

The house feels so much smaller now as

My children have grown into teenagers

And the family room

Where my daughter is busy recreating a plant cell

For a science project,

Is the same room where my son and his girlfriend are sitting down

To watch a movie.

The rooms

House so many memories,

Prebirth

When this little house almost seemed too big

Without children

In it.

Then once they arrived

Almost 4 years apart

The house seemed to embrace them

Inside their rooms with the slanted ceilings

And white paned windows.

Our family room

Not too long ago

Contained a doll house strewn with beautifully dressed princess barbies

And mysteriously decapitated ken dolls.

There was also a large plastic bin full of Lego blocks,

Its lid

behind the box of

Overflowing

random Lego pieces.

Too warped to be able to snap shut snuggly on the rounded corners.

Now a horror movie plays

In that otherwise occupied room

Where styrofoam,

Paint

and my daughter’s science diagram

Are subtle reminders

That date night comes with it’s own conditions

In a home that has suddenly become so small.

J. Hamilton

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Soar

I watch you

Shedding your

Childhood,

On the cusp of entering adulthood.

I don’t feel I have prepared you enough

For the world you are about to enter.

I wish I could keep you safe,

Take away any pain and hurt

Along the way.

But all I can do

Is watch as you emerge

And take that first step.

You may fall many times before you learn to fly,

But then

One day you will find what you are searching for

And you will soar.

J. Hamilton

Your flowers for M.G.

Your watercolor flowers dry on the canvas.

Pink and lavender blooms,

Not like the orange and brown papered walls that adorned our childhood bedroom.

Love springs from your petals.

A weightlessness

So different from our room of half shadows.

But even then

In those childhood moments

You nurtured me like you nurture your

Flowers

With love..

I remember the feeling of you spreading a solution through my hair

Then rinsing it out with warm water.

So I would no longer be the child at school

That the nurse would send home

With lice in my hair.

Then as a teenager

When hurt and anger bubbled up inside me

And my arms

Were sore from the knife that carved words into me that

I was not allowed to speak,

You gently coated my arms in a healing balm

Showing me what love was..

J. HAMILTON

Mnemosyne

You walk into the room where you will wait with him

As his breath grows barely audible

Even with the oxygen mask snug up against his face.

You watch his chest,

Wait for the small waves

Of breath to rise up

But his chest lays so still.

You press your ear against it

Waiting to hear his heart beat

And you hear it ever so faintly

Between pauses that grow longer in between.

You touch his hand

And he doesn’t stir.

He is sleeping,

And he seems unaware.

Unaware that he is dying.

That the steady drip of morphine

Is pulling him deeper into sleep

And that his wife is by his side

And his children have just arrived to say goodbye.

Some time ago he was robbed of his memory.

If only mnemosyne could restore his memory.

But here he was

Dying.

Symbolically

Before Remembrance Day.

Remembrance day would have a whole new meaning now.

When people would pin poppies

She would think of the forget-me-knots

That spread through her garden

When he was first diagnosed.

And the letters that he penned to his young children.

It was as if

He was saying,

Remember me.

J. HAMILTON

Sunlight on a garden

Sometimes I see your sunlit eyes

On a canvas of blue sky.

And I think the wind carries a hint of the perfume my father used to buy you at Christmas; Chanel.

And my skin becomes warmed by the sun

And my memories of you.

I loved resting my head on your lap,

Feeling you stroke my hair for moments that felt like hours.

I felt so safe in that cocoon you created for me.

so different from the violence

you tried to shelter me from.

Before the call came

I sprayed Opium on my wrist,

put on my lipstick.

I was beginning my day

As your day was coming to its end.

As my heart was beating with exuberance

Your heart stopped.

The call came.

Intubate.

Life support.

I was at your side.

Your beautiful pink soft skin

Had been drained of all life.

My perfume engulfed me.

I wanted to scrub it off.

I wanted to throw up.

To sit on the cold hospital floor, curled up

In my own

Fear,

dread,

grief.

I did not want to hear the hum of machines.

I wanted to listen to your heart beating

While you stroked my hair.

But you would not.

You were

Without life

Moments after the machines had gone silent.

I held your cool hands,

Warmed them in my own,

Remembering your own hands

Grasped around my own

Like

The sunlight falling on a garden.

J. HAMILTON

AUTUMN

The rain is about to come any minute,

an invited guest.

I wait on a bench surrounded by a handful of pale yellow filigree leaves

And a tiny white bird’s feather.

Autumn has only begun to stain the tips of leaves,

And the trees have barely begun to drop them down on the earth

In anticipation of blanketing its sacred green spaces.

It is so quiet here.

I can hardly hear my own heart beating.

An absence of sound

And sunshine

-almost like death.

J. HAMILTON

Passengers

I saw you in a dream;

We spent the day in Toronto

You, dad

And

us.

We sat on hard seats

and ate lunch at the Eaton Centre.

Then we stopped by a boutique

That smelled of vanilla and lavender

And sold

embroidered pillow cases,

Stained glass lampshades

And jewelry.

You bought me a shiny butterfly brooch

And a silver butterfly barrette for my daughter.

You and dad looked younger,

Happy.

Your hair was darker than I remember,

Your hands just as soft.

Dad

talked and laughed

And walked with his arms behind his back

Like he always did.

We somehow became separated. You and dad boarded one train,

The rest of us

-another.

We never said goodbye.

On the train ride home

I placed the butterfly barrette

In my daughter’s hand

And I looked at the jeweled-copper butterfly brooch.

I thought of the monarch butterflies that were destined to embark on their journey home.

To the shelter of syamel firs

Or fragrant eucalyptus.

You and dad were

Passengers on a train;

Destined for home.

-J. HAMILTON