Peggy Hammond – Three Poems

Hand-Me-Downs

Heirloom seeds still bloom bright
in the garden, fill supper bowls

and bellies before bedtime.
Treasures handed down

from a white-haired granny
in a worn cotton dress,

thin ankle socks limp against
the tops of ragged shoes,

who once quilted alongside
want and despair, stitched

tears of joy and sorrow
and a few family secrets

into each Log Cabin, Star,
and Double Wedding Ring pattern.

Working tobacco rows in summer,
laughing as children played freeze-tag

in the dusky yard, lightning bugs blinking,
velvet-winged bats dipping above their heads,

the bullfrogs at pond’s edge
harmonizing in impossible baritones.

When a storm split the pear tree,
she stopped the cutting down,

knowing its sweet preserves
would cheer winter’s dark mornings.

Pear tree still flowers,
quilts still warm cold nights,
heirloom seeds still bloom bright.

Black and White

You see a photo,
woman and child
sitting in grass
across from each other,
faces to camera,
the child wiping one hand
against the other.

I smell the yellow peach
that left my hands sticky,
hear my mother’s groan
as she tells my father
to take the picture already
as we picnic in the yard
of my childhood home,
gone now for a cooling lake
near a nuclear plant.

On weekends
boats pull people on
water skis and inner tubes,
skim over drowned farms;
rumbling motors and radios
obscure murmurations
from the past.


Morning

Crack the egg;
stop the curse word
rolling to the tip
of your tongue
as shell follows yolk.

Think about
the boy with sea-glass
green eyes
who kissed you
on a melting
summer’s day.

Tie shoelaces,
grab bookbag,
coat, lunchbox.
Listen as she makes
plans to be a mermaid
when she grows up.

Hold her small hand tighter
and laugh as she looks up,
declares the crescent moon
is the Cheshire Cat
grinning at her.

Breathe.
Memorize this moment.

 

Bio

Peggy Hammond’s poetry is featured or forthcoming in The LyricistOberon PoetryHigh Shelf PressSan Antonio ReviewInkletteWest Trade ReviewRogue Agent, and Ginosko Literary Journal.  Her full-length stage play A Little Bit of Destiny was produced by OdysseyStage Theatre in Durham, North Carolina, USA.  

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