Jane Eaton Hamilton

"At the bottom of the box is hope." – Ellis Avery.

Tag: poem

An anti-Valentine poem for the un-lovelorn

Valentine’s Day

by Jane Eaton Hamilton

If it starts to eye you
like a cinnamon heart
stand very still
blend into the background
of your dull life, into
laundry, dishes, stacks of paperwork

do all you can do
to avoid notice
become the yellow wallpaper
become the water in the trap of the sink
become sugar

Whatever you do
don’t imagine the gaping
burgundy mouth
the lips, the teeth of love
don’t imagine butterflies
Whatever you do
don’t sigh

Don’t think of dulcet dinners out
classical by candlelight
Don’t imagine love’s long eyes
her laugh, chocolate
or the slip of talented fingers
across your cheek
soft up your thigh

Turn away, turn away
from your need
Run swiftly through your town
cover your head with your arms
cry Help me!

If love still lifts you to its fleshy tongue
like a cinnamon heart
holds you to its palette melting
don’t go under its teeth as if you won’t shred
don’t slide down its esophagus like you won’t dissolve
don’t leak into its intestines as if love
were enough (even for this)

Happy valentine’s day, my sweeties


the hyacinth insists

throws cups of spring

at winter

from root bound pot




21 Poem Hacks

Brilliant, succint poem editing, discussed here:

Poem Hacks

Lesbian Sex

The Montreal Prize has a booty of $50K for the best poem, and today their longlist anthology became available  I have a poem included called “Lesbian Sex.”

Montreal Prize Longlist Anthology

Epiphyte 2: Moss

Jane Eaton Hamilton
From:   Canadian Women’s Studies, Vol. 16, No. 2.
When you wanted to know
what I was preoccupied with
in the dusk, I wasn’t thinking
I was facing the mirror
lying against your right side
while beyond the window
the mountains rose like blue women

Seagulls tore the sky leaving indigo squawks
I was looking at the shape of your
cheekbone high on your face, and at your
thin arm. There was the smell of spring

We’d seen a dozen city
hummingbirds in our garden
the hover of their ruby throats. You
wrapped in our red towels. It was
Mother’s Day;

Screen shot 2013-07-24 at 1.55.27 AM


we had risen
and fallen like landscapes on our bed

I watched your breast which was fuller than
the night on my porch when I first undid
your buttons. The sheet beneath you was green
It was almost our anniversary
I was naked. You wore
blue jeans still clasped. Your
nipple pointed down like a scolding
thumb, and I remembered how that first time
after you came, you prayed that
I would never leave you
and then I never left

A Mother’s Day Poem

Happy Mother’s Day for those of you celebrating the occasion.  I have always loved it, for it brings spring flowers and my children to my side, along with reminiscences like breast feeding my girls.  My best Mother’s Day gift was when my children were very very small, and, in daycare, Sarah had made an ashtray (which I cherished).  Her little sister, almost two, wasn’t to be outdone.  She peeled out of my bedroom in a blaze and a minute later returned with her head cocked, blushing with pleasure, hiding something behind her back.  “What did you bring me, sweetheart?” I asked and she held it out.  Something from her room.  Something she could bear to part with:  a dirty sock.


four a.m. feeding

I light no lamp
i go by ache
and touch

the song of your hunger
guides me
to your humid nest   my hands
curl under your arms and lift

it’s instinct this gift
i give you at night
i know you
smell you   when i can’t see you

buttons to unfasten
half asleep
it’s hard to work my fingers
and juggle you
but sooon   i fold you
in the crook of my arm
these pouches of stone
four hours without you
look what it does

you seek me
blindly   rooting for the source
i croon
it is there
i melt and gush
you choke break cough
too much
too fast
gurgling to your belly

milk splatters your face and fuzzy scalp
milk sweet and warm   such
plenty to grow on

i nuzzle your head
and rock the chair
slip my hand
under your gown
to fondle

your miniature toes

little peach little plum
i cannot imagine you
-Jane Eaton Hamilton from “Body Rain”

Screen shot 2013-05-12 at 10.24.25 AM

The Waterfall


The Waterfall


In the month before they find your son’s body

you wake imagining his fist clutching the spent elastic

of his pyjama bottoms, the pair with sailboats riding them.

He’s swimming past your room towards milk and Cheerios,

his cowlick alive on his small head, swimming

towards cartoons and baseballs, towards his skateboard,

paddling his feet like flippers.  You’re surprised

by how light he is, how his lips shimmer like water,

how his eyes glow green as algae.  He’s

amazed you again and again by how he breathes

through water.  Every morning you almost drown,

fighting the undertow, the wild summer runoff,

coughing into air exhausted, but your son is happy.

He’s learning the language of gills and fins.

Of minnows and fry.  That’s what he says

when you try to pull him to safety; he says

he’s riding the waterfall down its awful lengths

to the log jam at the bottom pool like a stuntman.

He’s cool to the touch; his beauty has you by the throat.

He’s translucent, you can see his heart under

his young boy’s ribs, beating and beating

as it once beat under the stretched skin of your belly,

blue as airlessness, primed for the vertical dive.

-Jane Eaton Hamilton


B:  WordPress does away with my stanza breaks.  Stanza breaks are indicated thusly:  //)


I sizzle out, hot along your arm.

I roll the sides of my shoes,

hard heels blistering the floor,

peppery, leaving sparks.//



against the static, the insistence of

hipbones, you take me in a rumba of pleasure,

in fire.

-Jane Eaton Hamilton



On Sunday

(NB:  WordPress does away with my stanza breaks.  Stanza breaks are indicated thusly:  //)


I wanted to tell you about the nurse tree

along the forest path, how she spit her

young from the hips of her stump to the sky,

how, even so, Martin and I loved her neighbour

best, bark ripping into hidden crevices, moss

mounting her sides.  I wanted to tell you//

insertion, talking your hand, your wrist; I

swam dizzy all Sunday through kelp

and dulce, everything slurred around me,

my emotions absorbent as sponge.

You must understand I was touched

soft and far, lolling into what should//

surely have frightened me, but did not.

My mouth was sore and bruised.  I smelled you

deep in my skin, a scorch: the honeyed

sting of a slap.  That tree slamming the sky, you

appearing before me like linked scarves out of

someone’s sleeve–significant, utterly simple.

-Jane Eaton Hamilton

%d bloggers like this: