Three Days

An oak we planted
leans precariously
into areas not its own.

An expert arrives,
advises removal.
Clinical, he ticks off the steps.
Limbs shorn, trunk
cut into sections, hauled down,
and if I desire, the stump taken,
leaving a depression
which time will mend.

We decide. Three days from now.

That night
I observe the oak,
knowing it absorbed our plan
the way roots
take in groundwater.

Even now
its leaves seem to droop,
its demise a certainty,
no power of its own.


Wishing a moment alone,
the sea releases
its grip on the shore.
One at a time,
long fingers indulgent
with starfish rings
lift, let go, recede.

Fish, draped in oranges,
blues and yellows,
withdraw to
quiet corners.

They know.

Moody silence deafens my ears.
Unschooled dirt dweller, I stand
entranced by sand uncovered,
indecent, blushing its remorse

while kelp ladies jostle,
lean into the pull,
green hair streaming,
toes curling for purchase.

When the sea rushes forward,
I break for air, and
listen for love
in the sea’s jealous roar.


A fool’s finger slipped
our wheel from its cog,

and clockwork smooth life
shouted to a stop.

Summer air witnessed my plunge
into midnight mumblings.

Now, without you,
I harvest a son’s tears,

rid pantry shelves
of small hopes gone sour.

Outside, cicadas chorus incessantly.
One by one, backs split

and they emerge,
tender and new.

Inside, my own husk
pinches and binds,

my own song
rises and merges.

The Fall

Through static
on the line
come words
of repentance
but there is no
confessor here.

And yet,
hope rises from me,
thick as smoke
from a thurible,

Peggy Hammond’s poetry appears or is forthcoming in High Shelf Press, San Antonio Review, Inklette, West Trade Review, Rogue Agent, Ginosko Literary Journal, Trouvaille Review, Amethyst Review, Two Thirds North, Cordella, and other journals. Her full-length play A Little Bit of Destiny was produced by OdysseyStage Theatre in Durham, NC.