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  • The Mermaid’s Thesaurus, and: Don Quixote, and: Spun off Lilacs
  • Kallima Hamilton (bio)

The Mermaid’s Thesaurus

It’s unbecoming to glean from all the boys who wallow in pirate gold.

      When I’m doused, dizzy with spume and stuttering angel-mouthed uncertainties, it behooves me to have a compendium of fossilized words.

Words that can tell the time underwater, blindly, at random.

Huge attempts to ferry down, fall in love, paint the town red, but all I do is float like kelp. Got to be some help out there, juke-joints other than this kingdom beyond sound alone.

Trade all my emerald fish scales for a limber pair of gams.

Etymology’s a gorgeous wench on these jagged rocks. She’ll make you forget hausfraus steadily weaving, weaving.

Siren songs waft in the mesmerizing eyes of beluga whales while blonde fish-bottomed girls blow deathly come-hithers.

      Metaphysical, I arrive at absurd conclusions, whisper flamboyant syllables as if they were real swan tears, synonyms for something salted with fire. [End Page 75]

Don Quixote

Another flea-bag motel but he’s happy as a sheik

because Sancho’s out for nachos and a Coke  and there’s not a windmill in sight.

Yellow-tipped red tulips on the windowsill give rise to some speculation,

white knights backing down and dove-slick peace wafting like skunk perfume up the canyon.

He watches My Favorite Martian on the antique tv whose rabbit ears (he’s sure) are extraterrestrial antennae.

      Cockroach angels scurry with garbled messages of chivalry and dulcet dreams.

No arguing with sundown, those pink-squeezed rainbows raining crazy ideas

about Eastside damsels, wet-sand castles. Sweet lies hurting no one where a bare light bulb

slowly illuminates love-drunk shadows on the wall. [End Page 76]

Spun off Lilacs

Was it a blue horse or a green horse?

Chagall. Green horse, violin. No woman lounging. On a dream hammock, arms akimbo in a silk red dress.       Barefoot, under a purple sky.

Something whispered, an outline of possibility like invisible hummingbirds inside the horse’s mouth.

      Maybe it was a mule. Long ears. Smiling. And you noticing lilacs in hot bloom against the white houses.

Scent of anise. Feel of wild fennel.

When I scoop down in the water fountain I cup up a handful of love. It is blue. No. It is clear translucent beaming free. Liquid. Your eyes, pooled with the juice of moon glyphs.

Look—how quickly reality shifts, a dazzle. My legs a part of the earth, a gypsy skirt twirling to the fiery heat of this bold magnetic violin that is not there,

      only hinted at in a stroking curve, my heart a marionette of improvised certainty. [End Page 77]

Kallima Hamilton

Kallima Hamilton works as a literacy tutor and esl instructor in Haslett, Michigan. Her poetry has appeared in the Mudlark, Wallace Stevens Journal, and Shenandoah. She is the author of Outside the Lava Fields (Aldrich P).



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pp. 75-77
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