THREE POEMS | by Lisa Hammond

The Goddess Loads the Dishwasher

Transferring vesuvian stacks of plates,
she arranges them as if deploying
an army of stoneware, china too slight
to do her bidding. Each warrior rigid

stands at attention, forlorn hope upright
in the tines of the lower rack, awkward
squad together with forks, knives, spoons,
all breaking ranks, haphazard silverware.

What must it take to be dishwasher safe?
She lines up battalions to see them fall.
They wait in silence: she shuts the door,
pushes pots and pans, spins the dial to start,
scours her lost legions with hot water, soap.
She lines up battalions, still fearing to fall.


~


The Goddess Eats an Apple


She likes Braeburns, firm pear-drop taste stronger
than bland Red Delicious, so mealy she knows
it could never have tempted her or the others.
She knows to be careful. Fruit’s so often a trap.

Perfect apples tossed to slow the runner,
taut pomegranates and tart strawberries,
plush invitations to fall. She tastes earth,
honeyed skin, moist flesh, pleasure and peril.

With every bite she remembers farther,
and sometimes she slices one, her knife quick,
thinking of that lavish lonesome Queen, buried
with grave goods, soldiers, ladies-in-waiting,
her headdress still shining, saucers of sliced
apples ready for when they woke, hungry.


~


The Goddess Reads a Legend

She sought this unimproved road, washboard sand
crusted frozen, no ranger-guided tours,
no boat ramp, no bike route, no trail loop, just
unlined regions, indefinite, unsurveyed.

In landscapes of legend, maps show distance,
intervals, never sky holding its breath,
never silence, small waters stilled by ice,
never absence, expanse of unmarked green.

There was the road at least, though setting off
she knew that forty days and forty nights
would not be long enough. She knelt to draw
the compass rose in frost, her cold hands chapped,
her heart the center, breath the fleur de lis
shone frozen in air, the promise of heat.


_____________________________________________

Lisa Hammond is the author of Moving House (Texas Review Press, 2007), which won the Robert Phillips Poetry Chapbook Prize. Her poems have appeared in Southern Poetry Review, Calyx, The South Carolina Review, English Journal, storySouth, North Carolina Literary Review, and Literary Mama, among others. A professor of English at the University of South Carolina Lancaster, she lives in a small southern town with her husband and two children. To learn more about her work, please visit http://lisaghammond.com.