Patricia Hamilton

Sanitizing Services
by Patricia Hamilton

I’ll scrub reality’s grubby paws
with anti-bacterial soap,
spray its t-shirt with stain remover
and toss it in with the whites,
hose down its muddy sneakers
with the nozzle set at full blast.

If I describe the double rainbow
the last time you saw your mother,
I won’t mention the dead cow
in the dry creek bed. Or the part
about the rusty barbed wire
on that long, triumphal hike.

No one need ever know
your heart slammed the air
right out of your lungs
as you stood waiting
at the wrong bus stop in Calais,
not another soul in sight.

They’ll be too entranced
by those chalky cliffs
shimmering across the channel
as the ferry churns toward Dover,
never once suspecting
gaps, edits, erasures.


Published in Cider Press Review, Volume 16, Issue 4.

Patricia HamiltonPatricia L. Hamilton is a Professor of English at Union University in Jackson, TN, where she teaches creative writing and 18th-century British literature. She has work forthcoming in Ibbetson Street, Broad River Review, Talking River, Illya’s Honey, and Iodine Poetry Journal. Her first volume of poems, The Distance to Nightfall, is newly available from Main Street Rag Publishing. She has received two Pushcart nominations.

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