Chera Hammons: “This week, it was posited that a moon belonging to another moon be called a ‘moonmoon.’ The reaction on social media was mixed, with some praising the name’s simplicity and childlike sound, and others complaining that it was lazy and not creative enough.” (web)
Chera Hammons: “My dog June, who inspired many of the lines in this poem, was adopted from a kill shelter. When my husband and I adopted her, it was her last day, and ‘Euthanize’ was stamped in red across all of her paperwork. She was a mystery when we got her—she was already spayed, she was mostly housebroken, and she had had some light training. Someone in the past had cared about her. Over the years, we’ve come to discover the issues that probably landed her in the shelter, but she’s ours now, part of our home, and we will do our best not to fail her. So much of the time, when there’s so much that’s out of our control, that’s all we can really do, I think—accept what we are, what we have, and try not to fail each other.” (website)
Chera Hammons: “I think what strikes me most about this event is the difference between what we can see on the outside—the plane descending, the blur of engines, radio silence—and the panic occurring on the inside. The strangeness of the co-pilot’s breath on the flight recording during the entire descent, without a single word spoken. Also, the limits of words in the face of such a tragedy.”
Chera Hammons: “I was shocked when I heard that a two-year-old boy had shot and killed his mother in Wal-Mart with her own concealed handgun. I kept thinking about what it would be like to carry that sort of thing, for the child and for his father, for the manager that took the gun from the boy’s hand, all the ripples something like this can have. What the mother would have had time to see and feel. It’s the sort of thing that, if you let yourself think about it too much, is enough to break your heart.” (website)
It’s a house-shaker, cellar-thumper,
the sort that we are warned about,
but not all of us have basements
so we fit into our closets when it comes,
just widened-out eyes and elbows while
the outside air boils and sings with electricity.
We grow up with it, always know this might
happen to us, that we will sit in our groaning box
in a sea of wind, and will wait under pillows
that must stop whatever pieces of cars pierce the walls,
so we have planned ahead, know the safest room.
We know that while we wait
the rebar will be ripped from the concrete,
the studs will be stripped, sand-blasted with topsoil,
hail will beat the nearly-wild roses flat.
The bells at the non-denominational church
will clang like mad yelling saints, the power will flicker,
the lights may go out, the garage door thrown off
so the house is a vacuum, but the warning sirens
are always a thrill when they start up,
the way that families freeze to listen at first.
They pause in their meals, or their small talk,
and suddenly hear tree branches already
slapping the dust off their houses, and the spitting rain
that saturates the brick red like when it was new,
the windows rattling, and the mile-long rumble
that might not be a freight train.
We know more about meteorology than most.
A ridge of low pressure, straight line winds,
gulf moisture were in our bedtime stories.
The storm will pass soon, the worst ones
wear themselves out fast with their violence,
and the morning will sparkle with dew and bent metal,
the roots of the cottonwoods like old fingers
finally holding the sky like something they’d hoped for.
We have rebuilt now so many times that nobody thinks
it’s unusual if you never find some of what blew away.
We will go outside to see what still stands,
meet our neighbors assessing the storm,
and what the new day is like, preening in its calm;
we’ll call it a good day for repairing the damage,
a good thing that things were not worse.
The weather is our culture, what we have in
common, all we really know how to talk about.