A Cat will Show its Wide Mouth as Way of Saying Hello


When I was first able to walk, I fell into a doll. I named
her (—) until my grandmother hit that name out of my
mouth. We wore identical cotton frocks: red with black
camellias, a black ribbon tied at the neck. Lace at every
opening, stiff, ugly as bark. I fed her tinsel along with the
yellow cat. With the screen door open, the animals started
to come inside. I named her Christine because I couldn’t
imagine another word. I stared at the pink wall next to my
bed with my hands over my ears. The wall receded. The
pink became liquid. Everyone’s face wore a frown that day,
and someone was put in the fireplace. My father laughed
and laughed when a women’s hair caught fire. But that
was another party.

Christine Hamm has a PhD in American Poetics, and recently edited the anthology, "Like a Fat Gold Watch: Meditations on Sylvia Plath and Living". She is currently an MFA poetry student at Columbia University. Christine's poetry has been published in Orbis, Nat Brut, Painted Bride Quarterly, BODY, Poetry Midwest, Rattle, Dark Sky, and many others. In 2017, Ghostbird Press published Christine's fourth book, a linked collection of hybrid poems, Notes on Wolves and Ruin.