That Morning As We Slept in Our First House Together

by Justin Hamm

there came a strange
which in my dream I took
for the glad ringing
of my father’s hammer
the old man busy
constructing homemade toys
for the cousins
or cradles for all
the new babies
as I slept in late
on those sweet sweet
Saturday mornings

Which I suppose is why
it was such a surprise
to wake
and stretch
to leave you curled
like a question mark
atop the sheets
and pry open the blinds
and find
not that melon-hearted
man at work
for the children he loved

but rather
a police officer’s hand
rising and falling
again and again
in the soft light
of sunrise
as he hammered joyfully
the crack dealer’s
sinister face
into the rusted hood
of our Chevy Cavalier

Originally from the flatlands of central Illinois, Justin Hamm now lives near Mark Twain territory in Missouri. He is the author of Illinois, My Apologies, a chapbook from RockSaw Press. Publications in which his work has appeared, or will soon appear, include Nimrod, The New York Quarterly, Cream City Review, Spoon River Poetry Review, and the recent anthology The Captain’s Tower: Seventy Poets Celebrate Bob Dylan at Seventy. Justin earned his MFA from Southern Illinois University Carbondale. His latest project is a free creative writing course for writers living in and around the small community of Mexico, Missouri.


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