November 27, 2010

Christine Hamm

LOVE HURTS, SAN JOSE, 1975

in the photo
the man is sprawled
a Chinese ideogram
spelling knife or beauty
sadness or forgiveness
potato or tongue

blood has splashed and run
down the grey wastebasket

there is a golden cast
to the scene
the daisies on the yellow
kitchen wall the ochre
dishwasher door

one hand is curled near
his turned away face
a cheek the delicate pink
of a girl’s blush when she
is caught at her first lie

his shoes are black, cheap
embarrassing

the blood a triangle
spread over his stomach
like a bandana folded
across his lap to hold
a tuna fish or roast beef
sandwich on a picnic table

the knife an afterthought
bright shadow
insubstantial smear
on a white t-shirt scrawled
with slogans
half words hidden
in the folds

from Rattle #23, Spring 2005