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Callaloo 23.1 (2000) 172

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Annual Visit of the Quiet, Unmarried Son

Forrest Hamer

Part 1: In the Family

After my mother kissed my sleeping father,
she kissed me and thanked God for letting me see
the New Year, for many had not been so blessed.
She talked about her friend Mr. James,
months before murdered in a night of profound disappointments,
the wounds in couples all over
his body (even under his feet),
the handsome young lover who killed him when wronged,
the old mother left grieving,
the many at his wake, the way he looked then
--like a boy just calming after a nightmare,
they say: my mother had stayed away,
that the man who found the shreds of the body
has not been the same, that no one nearby heard
a sound. I wanted to scream at her to stop
and I wanted her to tell me everything she'd heard,
my mother reckoning on into morning
with something hurt between us, still unmentioned.

Forrest Hamer is a lecturer at the University of California, Berkeley, and a practicing psychologist in Oakland, CA. Call & Response (1995) is his first collection of poems.



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