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Nicole Hammond Aug 2016
dear god of needle ***** and poisoned well
i pray you find my mother
cold and dry and unfeeling
something you can draw no moisture out of
a different god struck a rock with a staff
a long long time ago
and water came to cool his throat
but there are no miracles here
so you can please stop beating her now

dear god of gluttonous apothecary
my mother's body is a mathematical
it is a function with limits
her veins are rolling with their bellies full
of chemicals that burn
her hair runs from the scalp the way
two legs would
from a house going up in flames
my mother's body
is a house going up in flames
i am a child that is terrified of a monster
under the bed
i am helpless to a thing i can feel but
cannot see

dear god of gasoline remedy
your counterintuitive science
your black dream
takes her body like a new land
teaches her it's wretched language
it rapes and pillages
it steals the recognition
that sparks her eyes when she looks in mine

dear god of intravenous dark rider
let her live to see a day
she can wake and not be bound
to her biology

dear god of pink ribbon tourniquet
let her breathe and take it for granted again

dear god of careful rampage
finish what you have started
and lock the door behind you
Nicole Hammond Jul 2016
i watch the sun rise at my mother's feet on a monday morning. i watch my mother writhe as i watch her skin rise, like the sun, warm over infected tissue. she vomits into my lap and i say it's okay. she squeezes my hands until my fingers turn red as the veins in her eyes, rising without sleep. she digs her nails into my legs as she begs for a god who isn't listening. for now i am the only god who is listening. i am listening to her ***** and tremble and plead. she tells me if there had been a gun by the bed she would have used it. for some reason i can't bear to think of my mother dying by her own hands but by her own cells is somehow more bearable. her hands and her once perfect cells, they live somewhere untouched inside of me. i carry them, no matter how heavy they grow.
this is cancer. this is what it looks like. do not be mistaken.
Nicole Hammond Jul 2016
my mother traded her body for a future tense. my mother gave her flesh as ransom for a life cancer held captive. it wants what makes her woman. she obliges. she holds her body the way she has known it one last time and i can see the halls filling up with water. my eyes are losing their salt as her wounds seem to be finding it. she finds pain and it finds her worthy. i don't know what god finds her a landscape worthy of deserting but it calls her chest exodus. her body, so full of blood and bread and water and wine and everything else that makes her a covenant. her body, a body of water, of hydrogen and oxygen and intention and breath and everything else that makes her alive. my mother is alive, past, present, and future tense.
my mom and cancer no longer share a street address. my mother is cancer free today. this is for her body and everything it went through to get here.
Nicole Hammond May 2016
there's a summer growing in my mother
there's something burning
blistering something soft
my mother's woman
is souring like warm milk
it tells her this is natural
this is the way an organic thing rots

there's a winter growing in me
there's something cold
splintering something soft
my mother's woman
is freezing like a lake in december
small and cold and stagnant
and everyone's too scared
to put too much weight on it
i'm trying to be strong
but strong feels cold
cancer feels cold
what does that make me

there's a spring growing in my mother
there's something growing in my mother
there's something putting down roots
my mother's woman
is growing plastic flowers
from hospital bracelet stems
she waters them with her iv drip
it grows and tells her it's natural
it grows and tells her it's right
it's not right

there's an autumn growing in me
there's something about believing
in a god that shows mercy
that dies
when you watch mercy
get its *** kicked by mutation
my mother's bravery
is getting its *** kicked
by biology
my mother's hope is a thing with feathers
my mother's faith is a thing with leaves
and both of them are dying
she tells me it's okay
it's not okay
it's not okay
this is it. this is the poem i've been too scared to write.
Nicole Hammond May 2016
everything that smokes isn't always a gun
but sometimes it is
God doesn't always come in a pillar of fire
but sometimes you burn and i still call it holy
sometimes you hold me and i don't call it chains
my skin remembers you long after you leave
but i don't call it sunburn
maybe i should
maybe there was a gun 'cause i still have
all these holes
maybe you were God
maybe you were hell but you burn even slower
like a sunburn
i wrote this to take my mind off what i'm too scared to actually write about
Nicole Hammond Apr 2016
what i see is a generation of funeral pyres
what i see is children being scattered like
seeds scattered like ashes
chasing a dream that promised us joy
what i see is something wandering
wild and perfect and broken
i think that's it's god
i don't know anything about god

what i hear is my best friends choking down
their fear with a bottle on the weekends
what i hear is a story called "joy" and how
my name fits in it like a wisdom tooth
in an overcrowded mouth
what i hear is that things get worse
before they get better
i don't know anything about getting better

what i feel is lonely
what i feel is sick to death of always running
from what i know, from what i don't
what i feel is tired
of this race i never signed up for
what i feel is like maybe there never was joy,
like maybe all happiness is
is the spaces between aches
that we fill with anything soft
i don't know anything about being soft

what i say is nothing because
fear is a wired jaw
and joy is pulling teeth
one can't exist in the presence of the other
i don't know anything about anything other
Nicole Hammond Mar 2016
i took a lighter to all the love i had left
left the ashes in a coffee can on the mantle
like a dog i had to put down
i buried it like a secret
like i could ever regret
i left my heart in another boy's glovebox
next to everything else he never needed but
thought he could some day

i couldn't love you even if i tried
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