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
You were the hope I had read about in Emily Dickinson’s poem
Eventhough you did not sing.
Even though your heart stopped beating.
By J. HAMILTON
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.
A careful construct
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.
At first the darkness sweeps under your skin
Fluid like diligence.
For a time
It sees through your eyes
And then sits in your heart chambers
With its palpable presence.
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.
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
Tonight 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,
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,
Last night I dreamt
I was home again.
A child perhaps.
I woke up
Felt the sun falling on my face
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
I run back up the stairs,
Trying to find you.
I walk into your room.
Suddenly feels unlived in.
I head to my father’s room.
He is not there.
In his place
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.
And wait for you here.