Monday, December 13, 2021


Ah yes, there was the summer of ’78,
which I had almost forgotten in these latter days
of statins and twice around the block
in the evenings beneath the sheen of pine needles
so that my pulleys and gears will stay lubricated
and the bellows behind my ribs will keep
rush hour traffic flowing smoothly in my arteries.

The thesis and diploma were tucked away
where they could do neither harm nor good.
I had learned earlier that pulling one thread the wrong way
unravels the tapestry of blossoming love.
I painted murals in the air for no one,
an avant-garde hermit who lived in a basement apartment
and read “Dover Beach” one too many times.

The white sands of Jamaica—
well, that was a different story in the anthology,
so I puddle-jumped to Kingston Town
and bought a twenty-dollar guitar,
a beach umbrella, and too many cocoanuts
with umbrellas sprouting like new growth
from rum or tequila and the juice of the day.

At night, when small fires blazed like eyes opening,
and the beach was filled with lovers
or other refugees who had too much of nothing
and were sampling Dylan’s waters of oblivion,
I played for whitecaps and sea birds wheeling,
notes lost in the surf folding onto the beach,
songs hanging in the air for no one.

It was one evening when the full moon
sat on the rim of the world,
the atmosphere molding its shape into an ellipse,
a silver eye with a tint of orange,
that I sat up, arms folded around my knees,
and knew that, despite bikinis and calypso drums,
the spirit hovering over the deep
was watching me and always would be.

~William Hammett

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