Peggy Hammond

3 Poems

Moment of Stillness

In Paris, I sit in a Metro
car, on the lavender
line, its semicircular route
stretching luxuriously
up from Balard
and down to Pointe du Lac,
a cat draped on a chair’s back.

Last week, there was
a three-hour delay;
riders settled for the wait.

A man had dropped himself
neatly onto the tracks,
submitting to the oncoming train
like a despairing lover,
a weary supplicant.
His life’s ending
arrived on a schedule
of his creation,
not an unknown TBA date.

Endings require time
for sorting and cleaning.
Everyone knows this,
except those
who depart first.

Testify

Graveside, we recite Psalm 23;
our voices follow contours
of valleys and shadows.

Faded highway
spoons the cemetery;
wheels on asphalt
shout a refrain
too frequent and unwelcome.
Our lips move
but we are no longer heard.

Still air beside me testifies
you are gone.

Sunset Blessing

Bed rails frame him as he sleeps,
small trellises securing a sapling.

His chest rises and falls, delicate,
like the gray titmouse that visits our feeder.

I am shelter, building
around him a protective nest.

At the right moment
I will withstand his flight,

let him soar and rise
on swelling updrafts.

Although you will not watch
the slip of his hours into years,

perhaps you will bear witness
from your own distant mountaintop.

Peggy Hammond’s poetry appears or is forthcoming in Inklette, West Trade Review, Rogue Agent, Ginosko Literary Journal, Trouvaille Review, Amethyst Review, Two Thirds North, Cordella, Skylight 47, Peeking Cat, The Comstock Review, The Elevation Review, Waterwheel Review, Jabberwock Review, and other publications. Her full-length play A Little Bit of Destiny was produced by OdysseyStage Theatre in Durham, North Carolina.