Two Poems by Peggy Hammond

The permafrost is melting,

houses and roads
collapsing. Siberia
is scribbling notes
to the world,
teaching rising

My aunt once said
she thought I couldn’t
have children. Those years
watching me without issue,
deciding there was
something wrong.

Foreign to her, my choosing
not to place one more
human in the arms of a
world clumsy with people,
heavy with nearly
eight billion bodies.

In Antarctica, warming
seas press kisses on glacial
bellies, old ice releases,
water levels lift. In oceanfront
towns, residents slosh down
rivulet streets, mourn

what was.


When Light Became Brushstroke

In Knoxville’s art museum, who can
remember the artist, we lean in

for a closer look, startle when
a guard growls, don’t touch the painting.

Hands resting behind backs, we laugh,
whisper, bet he’s waited forever

to say that. From then on, in hard
or easy moments, we tell each

other, don’t touch the painting,
snicker. When cancer overtakes you, I

become helpless guard pleading for cooperation,
circumstance giving me the side-eye, grinning.

On the last morning, shades of who you were
shimmer and blink, your horizon and sky

dimming, blending into an unending
line I cannot follow. And just before

you leave this life we spun into gold,
I murmur permission, go ahead,

touch the painting.


Peggy Hammond’s recent poems appear or are forthcoming in Pangyrus Literary Magazine, The Comstock Review, Crosswinds Poetry Journal, For Women Who Roar, Fragmented Voices, Scissortail Quarterly, The Sandy River Review, Moonstone Arts Center’s anthology Protest 2021, and elsewhere. She is a Best of the Net nominee, and her chapbook The Fifth House Tilts is due out fall 2022 (Kelsay Books).

2 thoughts on “Two Poems by Peggy Hammond

  1. Thank you, Peggy Hammond for these two fine poems. I found myself emitting an involuntary “oh!” as I read the last line of “When light became brushstroke”.

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