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Castaway by Peggy Hammond

Memories flit close,

dart away:

I’m sitting at the kitchen table

bony knees to flat chest, 

feet on chair’s edge,

chair on curled linoleum. 


My mother pours coffee 

to include me, my cup 

small, mostly sugar.


Her brisk movements,

a butter churn, a bubbling pot,

a universe she kept on course.


Older, I see weary eyes, 

Note her smile stalls, 

half formed. Older,


in dark nights, I hear 

jealous rages, threats 

of damage or death.


Older, I know her heart 

broke long before I 

washed ashore, one more 


girl seeking safe passage 

through a world

seething with men.


---

Peggy Hammond’s recent poems appear or are forthcoming in Pangyrus Literary MagazineThe Comstock ReviewFor Women Who RoarFragmented VoicesThe Sandy River Review, Moonstone Arts Center’s anthology Protest 2021, and elsewhere.  A Best of the Net nominee, her chapbook The Fifth House Tilts is due out fall 2022 (Kelsay Books).

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