2 poems by Charlotte Hamrick : Shelter in Place & Swaddling the Beast

Fevers of the Mind

Shelter in Place

A derelict cave lurks under my rib cage,
holds years of ragged breath,
smothering kudzu,

and time-laden clay, hides
the hammering of living things 
near dead, the dawn of every morning

sucked up into prayers.
In a firestorm of words, 
terror waited in silence,

air washed in red 
like Mars, like blood,
like the shredded heart of a broken child.

Swaddling the Beast

Why do the blues creep up
my spine on the most glorious days?
Balmy spring in its best finery, riotous

color, silken breezes, benevolent sunshine –
why does it mock me, tease me, test me?
Sometimes there’s loneliness

in so much beauty, despondency
in such perfection. The whole of creation
is indifferent, has no reason to consider

my blue moods so I hold on for storm clouds,
their shades of purple and gray, their softness
of light, how they swaddle my bête noire.


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