A WATIRESS, THE CLOUD OF STARS, AND A LITTLE VIOLENCE
By Katherine Hammond
Driving to her dead-end job, she sees a streak of fur
before she feels a sickening lurch, the lump crushed under her wheels.
Holding the creature at the roadside, she stares into the stars,
and hopes there’s a god to hold broken creatures such as these.
She still feels the lurching under her wheels
as she stares through the windshield, dead lump in her lap.
She sees the stars billow, sending rolling waves of light,
and the mountains of sky calling to be climbed.
She abandons her windshield as she arrives at her work. During
her break, she digs out back and buries the creature deep in the ground.
Always with her face turned to mountains of sky, twilight
fills her eyes, they glow as they’re bathed in waves from stars.
She buries the creature deep in the ground, then
she’s mopping floors, filling coffee cups. She thinks
of cold fire, of glowing twilight in the night, of black dirt
under fingernails, and a creature tucked into the Earth.
As she mops, she looks through dirty glass, back to the sky.
Food’s scrubbed from plates like dried blood from hands.
Tired feet stomp over buried life as she bears laden trays,
feeding filthy crowds under silent stars.
Scrubbing cups, she thinks of blood and fur and bone.
Wincing at a screaming, hungry child, she wades
through ragged travelers, feeds and fills the gaping mouths,
living tied to ground, bound to the sky.
She hears the begging, hungry children, hears them
echo her hungry soul. Bathed in blood and dirt,
the ground, she prays to the stars, and hopes
there's a God to hold broken creatures such as these.