Tag Archives: Chera Hammons

Evergreen
by Chera Hammons

What we fear may not come to pass. Though the wind this year has been violent,
and the sky rainless, the tree we planted in front of our house

because we imagined some kind of life there, some green hope,
some shelter from the weather and the neighbors, may survive.

As I drive to work, my car filters in the woody smell of smoke
from the grassfires beside the highway, and the sunrise is as red as it will be at the end.

In a spring like this, the topsoil blows away, and the ground is hard, unforgiving.
Just yesterday, my black colt came up lame, short-stepping and dragging a hind toe.

He knew only I could help him, but there was no blood, heat, or swelling tissue—
nothing to show me what hurt. A strained muscle, maybe. A stone bruise.

Today in Brussels, the planes are grounded, bright birds sunning on the tarmac
while the edges of glass shimmer beneath. This morning, people like us,

holding whatever they thought to take with them,
ran down the dark tracks in shadowed tunnels toward uncertain ideas of air and light

while smoke billowed behind them, quiet as the voice of a ghost.
None of them knew soon enough that they wouldn’t make it to work this time,

that they would be given new reasons to run, that their pasts would become the same,
would become more frightening than the darkness that lay ahead.

This afternoon, I’ll check the horse’s leg again (he is gentle, and won’t kick),
feel down the thin tendons that keep him on his feet, see if anything has changed.

I’ll haul water to the tree, prick myself with its needles, kneel to feel the ground around it.
I’ll worry, as I so often have, that I won’t do enough to make it live.

 

Published in Cider Press Review, Volume 19, Issue 1.

Chera HammonsChera Hammons is a graduate of the MFA in Creative Writing program at Goddard College. Her books include Amaranthine Hour (winner of the 2012 Jacar Press Chapbook Award) and Recycled Explosions (Ink Brush Press, 2016). She is a winner of the 2016 Common Good Books Poetry Contest judged by Garrison Keillor. She lives in Amarillo, TX and serves as a member of the editorial team at poetry journal One.

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Incubate
by Chera Hammons

You are made in a darkness
that warms and rustles,
and settles, folded under the dusk-sound
of cicadas singing as softly
as a woman undressing in the pale gold
of a lamp before bed.
But you don’t know that song,
not yet. The curve is at your back
and you curl against it. Soon you will fill it,
become the same shape as the room
and use all of the air in it.
It is too early to know what you are.
If the oval was held to a bright enough
light there would be a red, deep drop,
and there would beat a tiny black speck of heart
fluttering without any bones to contain it.
Maybe you think you can feel wings beginning,
toothpick marrow fusing
that kind of architecture.
Even such unmade eyes should know
the shades of red broken by shadows
and the weight of the moon coaxing
as when you were most unsolid.
This heaviness may only open to more,
a buried nest, something else to dig out of.

Whatever it is, it is yours now.

So much fastens to you
like an egg-tooth, the first answer you will ever have,
by which the darkness waits
to splinter out.

 

Published in Cider Press Review, Volume 18, Issue 4.

Chera HammonsChera Hammons is a graduate of the MFA in Creative Writing program at Goddard College. Her books include Amaranthine Hour (winner of the 2012 Jacar Press Chapbook Award) and Recycled Explosions (Ink Brush Press, 2016). She is a winner of the 2016 Common Good Books Poetry Contest judged by Garrison Keillor. She lives in Amarillo, TX and serves as a member of the editorial team at poetry journal One.

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Emergency Supplies
by Chera Hammons

This is an end-of-the-world kind of love.

You know, a grab-onto-something-because-
the whole-place-is-coming-down sort of situation.

When all of the volcanoes erupt at the same time,
and the sun supernovas, you’ll still be hottest.

When the nukes go off in billowing fungi,
we’ll close our eyes and imagine the earth
climbing up a mountain in clouds,
like a Sherpa going to visit his gods.

Even while we huddle in the shopping mall
listening to zombies scratching at the cinderblocks,
I’ll think about how you’re the one I want to die with.

And if you get infected, that’s okay too.
You can corrupt me, and we’ll still have things in common,
pretend we’ve just grown old, developed peculiar tastes,
and don’t get along with our kids anymore—
you’ll complain to withering houseplants
that our children never call us since we tried
to gnaw the arms off their dates.
That’s why they stopped coming around.

Anyway, let’s grab a couple of beers and watch
things blow up on the evening news.
If you’re not busy later, we can look for a cave together,
outfit it with spring-sprouting sofas,
drag a dented dishwasher in front of the opening
so no one will know when we hide in it.
We can live a long time on canned tomatoes,
waiting for all that we’ve saved to run out.

Let’s get buried under the last breath
of the world that no one could survive long in.

Let’s be bothered by endings for the last time.

 

Published in Cider Press Review, Volume 18, Issue 3.

Chera HammonsChera Hammons is a graduate of the MFA in Creative Writing program at Goddard College. Her books include Amaranthine Hour (winner of the 2012 Jacar Press Chapbook Award) and Recycled Explosions (Ink Brush Press, 2016). She is a winner of the 2016 Common Good Books Poetry Contest judged by Garrison Keillor. She lives in Amarillo, TX and serves as a member of the editorial team at poetry journal One.

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Visit Chera Hammons’s contributors page.