How to Make a Red Coat

posted May 3, 2011

Take from the lint trap in the dryer all the soft fuzz and thread, and drape it over the faucet in your neighbor's bathtub. Your neighbor won't mind; he misses the horses in his home country and is drunk by breakfast. He sits by the window, refusing to look up or out when you walk in. He's worn the same black pants for days. The smell makes your eyes water, so leave the front door open. Go down to the tiny store under the stairs and buy two gallons of cranberry juice from the depressed pregnant woman. A monster covered in brown feathers will follow you home. He refuses to make a sound, just blinks his large yellow eyes, even when you pluck a feather and slide it into the bucket under your arm. Take the monster by the shoulder and tuck him into your neighbor's bed. Now, during the night, they'll both have a reason to howl.

Christine Hamm is a PhD candidate in English Literature, specializing in 20th century poetics. Her poetry has been published in The Adirondack Review, Pebble Lake Review, Women's Studies Quarterly, Lodestar Quarterly, Poetry Midwest, Rattle, and many others. She has been nominated four times 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 in March 2010. She also edited the anthology, Like a Fat Gold Watch: Creative/Critical works inspired by Sylvia Plath, and was a runner-up in the competition to be Poet Laureate of Queens.