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Thursday, March 23, 2006

Where Her Heart Lives – Tom Hamilton

Tail lights strung like beads on a rosary.
Like crimson ladybugs on an asphalt lake.
That rigormortis foundry is unsafe for keepsakes.
The quaking euthanasia of the wrecking ball,
decks the halls in sesquicentennial fantasies.
But modern or archaic carnal reveries
still match even under your most fended lens
almost identically.

Two girls stand in the Dairy Queen bathroom.
One sits on the sink and begins to cry.
Her skin is as white and clean as the hand soap.
She's bawl/talking something about "Stupid Jerks."
The tears crest her eyes as heavy as a chain.
But just as I identify and start to hate her pain
they laugh/spit/speak in promiscuous American accents.
Their tongues click and flex, jokes about oral sex.
Those thick sickening words drive romantics to gin.

Tonight I'm too afraid to pray.
I think that Jesus might have it in for me.
She hasn't said much since the rumours started.
She hasn't won anything with my dollars.
Like that strapless dress she's squirming away.
Again the stuffed animal jumps off the crane.
She checks on my table to make sure I don't touch her
and drops in another 'Caesar Rodney' quarter.

Why do people think I'm so funny?
I don't even hear the jokes running from my mouth.
Noteworthy imitations are easy for me.
I come to a particularly ridiculous story.
As my mouth pronounces she picks up the bowling ball.
She's the only person who is not laughing.
She's concentrating on the formation of the pins.
She draws a breath into where her heart lives
and knocks the towers down without a childish scream.

Found myself a restroom with a jailhouse lock.
Let all the agents pound they'll never hear the sound
of the tears disturbing water and jumping on the seat.

Took my heart for a little ride this morning.
I removed it from my chest and placed it on the lane lines.
It took off like a sparrow through a tangle of trees
Way up and a -weigh- into one of those moons
You can somehow see during the day.

Tom Hamilton is an Irish Traveller. He currently lives withthe clan known as the Mississippi Travellers. His work has appeared in over seventy publications including “Old Crow Review,” “The Rockford Review” and “The Main Street Rag” among many others. Along with his wife Mary Theresa and their two small daughters, Tiffany and Hope Ann, he lives in Memphis, Tennessee.

Close-up view of an astronaut's footprint in the lunar soil photographed with a 70mm lunar surface camera during the Apollo 11 extravehicular activity on the moon (1969) courtesy of Nasa.