This street of noise, liquid and stench: fishmongers shrieking their wares,
turtles and lobsters struggling like mechanical toys against the walls of damp
Every hour the sidewalk drenched anew with grey water, to wash away the
debris of fish, limbs, eyeballs and heads. If you are lucky, you can walk near the
line, breathing through your nose, holding your scarf over your lower face. If
you are lucky, you can break free of the surging, stopping, and cursing crowd.
hands are cold; you put them in your pockets and your shabby scarf drops.
You find yourself a mile away from that wet overflow. You see the small white
black dogs trotting on threads tied to their owners. You smell the new
blossoms of magnolias as you step on petals, bruised polka-dots all over your
AUGUST 21ST, 2021 / POETRY
* This poem has a title taken from Plath’s Blue Moles.
Christine E. Hamm (she/her), a queer & disabled English Professor, social worker and student of ecopoetics, has a PhD in English, and lives in New Jersey. She recently won the Tenth Gate prize from Word Works for her manuscript, Gorilla, which is a book of dark fairytale prose poems about gender, trauma and transformation. She has had work featured in North American Review, Nat Brut, Painted Bride Quarterly and many others.