Interior Displacements

Consciousness touches the skin
breezy and humid, hair brushed
along the fore of someone else's
lilies. Planted before we arrived,
the bulbs nestle and anchor
deep in clay uncertainty.
In this sun-cooked
ranch house a pandemic
abolishes the rules of meals,
instead we spread food
across floors and pick our way
from one room
of the day to another.
Weaving through the live oaks
towards us a sunfish reflects
intense scorn against crabgrass.
Above, sitting in the boughs
a tiger smokes, remembering
me from 1983. The dead
possum, clearly smashed
by car tires, looks up warily
and asks, "Haven't you had
enough of your own
ego? It's
killing me." I notice the graffiti
left on the boles – blanks that pull
bark into them. Leticia backs
away from the doorway, an
unintuitive motion–
like watching VHS in slow reverse
while a conspiracy
theory about Covid-19
plays brashly in the air
behind her. We need
things we need our
things. Brogues clopping
against cobblestones, the gathering
in a small lamp-lit park
celebrating the Dogwood Festival,
the one I left
a hole in, adolescent
denial of my treachery
in this rare snapshot saturated
with a few vivid decades
in which I left
every single friend. Hummingbird,
wasp, and West Indian
Jasmine ease more restrictions,
slow memory tide to the griffon
who springs exhilarated and flies
its desire like Hobbes pouncing
on Calvin, or Aida hiding behind the doorjamb,
giggling: one more mythological surprise.
Our liquid interiors displace us
down a dead-end alley where we
find bleached femur of another alley.
Walk back to the border
and listen to water invent mud –
little death emptying out its end
with nothing behind it, no support –
four empty decades lying down
against a rosy sunset backdrop:
defunct railroad bridge,
sludgy Ohio River, pierced reflection
of bank skyscrapers
glowing the underbelly
of night.

Vagary Ships

Tatters of dream
flare out
then quiet
in periphery of morning.

Statements of iron-tongued
desire and baleful gallop
fade to pure drops of oxygen

awake in rectangular dark
unaware of the window
or yard outside window

just self-contained

I pose to bring house back
sitting, head-cocking
suburban ac lullaby

and back in the year
where your warm breath
grounds me

simple chore of coffee
I bring to you
makes the past
all worth it.

JOSHUA BRIDGWATER HAMILTON  is a Louisville, KY native who has traveled and lived in several places, including Spain, Appalachia, Panamá, Peru, the Philippines, and the Colorado River. Currently, he is a poetry candidate in the Texas State University MFA program. He has a chapbook, Rain Minnows, with Gnashing Teeth Publishing, as well as a chapbook, Slow Wind, with Finishing Line Press. His poetry appears in such journals as Windward Review, Amarillo Bay, Voices de la Luna, and San Antonio Review.