Christine Hamm

What Happens When I Try to Write

My horse is eating my head. He started off with my hair. I guess I can understand that, since my hair is blond and pretty dry in the summer, so it probably looks like hay. You wouldn't think that horses could bite so hard, as they normally munch on grass, but their teeth are enormous -- not very sharp, but quite hard. The horse jaw can exert pressures of up to 2,000 pounds per square inch. I made that entirely up. Horse teeth, however, are the size of dominos, and look like thick brown curved dominos, but hurt more than dominos ever could, even if they were thrown quite hard at you from a near distance. Horses' teeth grow indefinitely and have to be filed down with a large metal file. This process is called "floating". I did not make this up. I, on the other hand, grind my own teeth very hard at night. Sometimes I wake up with tiny bits of teeth on my tongue. They don't taste like anything -- I spit them out in the sink. Every time I meet a dentist, he becomes very depressed. He often starts to tell me about the country where he came from, how he misses the weather. He inevitably avoids looking in my mouth. He opens my jaws with those rubbery gloved hands, then stares out the window, shaking his head and sighing theatrically. I was surprised when my horse tore off my ear, but since then I haven't felt many emotions. From where I lie on the floor of his stall, I can hear his noisy chewing and crunching, and watch his hind hooves shuffle and tip. Sometimes he swats at a fly with his tail. I find the swish of his tail comforting, regular. It sounds a little like a broom, as if someone were sweeping the stall next to us.

Christine Hamm is a PhD candidate in English Literature at Drew University and an MFA student at New England College. She won the MiPoesias First Annual Chapbook Competition with her manuscript, Children Having Trouble with Meat. Her poetry has been published in The Adirondack Review, Pebble Lake Review, Lodestar Quarterly, Poetry Midwest, Rattle, and many others. She has been nominated twice for a Pushcart Prize and she teaches English at CUNY. The Transparent Dinner, her book of poems, was published by Mayapple Press in 2006 and her second book, Saints & Cannibals, came out this spring. Christine was a runner-up to the Poet Laureate of Queens.

1 comment: