I found you with a broken wing.

Under a tree on a hot summer’s day.

Struggling to stand.

You could not fly

Though you desperately tried.

I took you home in a box,

Placed you among my favorite flowers

As my son watched close by.

He knelt down to stroke your feathers,

And you opened your eyes

Small and black like shiny, smooth pebbles.

You watched him for awhile

Then you fell asleep. I moved you

To a soft shaded bed of hostas

To keep the sun

From beating down on your tiny

Broken body.

You were the hope I had read about in Emily Dickinson’s poem

Eventhough you did not sing.

Even though your heart stopped beating.



A different life

As you lay dying

I remembered the stories you wanted to tell

When you sat at your wheel

Hands of wet clay,

Clay caked between your fingers

As the vase spun

And each layer

Joined and weaved together

Over and over again.


Of waves and circles.

Each rotation,

A careful construct

Meditative almost,

Your mantra.

After you baked the red clay

You painted scenes from a different life

In neat invisible squares.

Those stories from Greek and Egyptian mythology

That adorned your pottery

Under the fine hairs of a paint brush

Became a landscape of real and imagined places and histories

In my childhood.

As you lay in your bed

That August morning

I wondered if it was true that

You would not be alone

After this life.

That the dutiful


Would be there to keep you safe.

Guide you to your next life.

J. Hamilton

At first

At first the darkness sweeps under your skin

With mysterious

Fluid like diligence.

For a time

It sees through your eyes

And then sits in your heart chambers

With its palpable presence.

You exhale

And the strangeness of this newly assumed existence



But then through time

The beautiful darkness that

You thought you knew

Is no longer the safety you thought you had found.

Instead it wraps around and around you so tightly

You find it hard to breathe.

You want so desperately to release

This dangerous storm

That has occupied a space inside you.

Now it is the darkness you want to escape,

To be surrounded by a safe harbor of light.

J. Hamilton

With wings

There is that moment

When I watch you shuck your skin

And emerge with wings.

I can no longer contain you

Where I can watch you

and keep you safe behind a glass jar.

You are slowly changing,

Discovering new versions of you.

I can only watch from a distance

As you grow and fly

Though I wish I could still keep your wings safe from the flame,

Let you dance with fireflies but

Not let the fire steal your spark.

By J. Hamilton


20190526_2314002290478655032929904.jpgTonight I am going to wrap myself inside your blanket.

The one with the pale green squares

And the flower patches.

Your smell is gone.

And I don’t know if this was your favorite one.

But I remember it at the edge of your bed

Draped over your soft,

Cool feet.

It has been too long since I have felt your arms

Wrapped around me,

Felt your warm, pink cheek against mine.

I have this blanket left

To seek comfort from.

To hold it against me.

I want to close my eyes

Feel your breath,

Smell your skin cream against my face.

Feel you mouth the words,

Sempre vicino.

J. Hamilton


Last night I dreamt

I was home again.

A child perhaps.

I woke up

Felt the sun falling on my face

Like sap.

I wandered to your summer-sky-blue room,

Looked at your freshly made bed.

I walked past my father’s forest-green room,

Saw his feet sticking out from under his covers.

Heard him breathing heavily in his sleep.

I wandered down the steps into the kitchen.

Looking for you.

Your smile is the first one

I love to see.

The kitchen light is on.

The kitchen smells of breakfast

Being cooked.

I run back up the stairs,

Trying to find you.

I walk into your room.

It’s still,


Suddenly feels unlived in.

I head to my father’s room.

He is not there.

In his place

Dust particles

Floating in the light.

I realize I am here all alone.

I am haunted by your absence.

Perhaps I am the one

Haunting this house

Where we once all lived.

I search

And wait for you here.