Take 23

a woman asks, the horses, which side did they fall
                on during the quake?

       and I tell her it hasn't happened yet,  to call back in a minute

I'm wearing the same blouse as the girl on TV,
       the same tiny brown flowers that flow up the neck,
the same plastic,  pearlized buttons,  and in this dream,
       you're taking it off me,  button by button,
until something like a fishhook jabs your hand and you yell;

I want to apologize,
       but I'm standing by the river and shivering,
              and you're still on TV

and someone else answers your cell,
       sounding like a pilot or help desk employee,
shouting louder and louder
                 until vibrations fill the glass box

       and it's then that the horses shift and pound in their stalls,
making those
       small coughing noises called "whinnies,"

then that payphone under the dung pile rings again,
        and the receiver slides out of my hand,
         a large-eyed fish looking up at me,
             trying to fly and failing

Copyright 2011,  Christine Hamm

Christine Hamm is getting her PhD in English Literature.  Her poetry has been published in WSQLodestar QuarterlyPoetry MidwestRattle, and many others.   She's been nominated four times for a Pushcart, and teaches at the City University of New York.   She has published two books of poetry: The Transparent Dinner and Saints & Cannibals.

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