Brendan Hamilton

A New Birth

White flesh beneath black wool, the prophet militant yips from balcony.
The slave cries to God for the chorus of our boots.
Army to liberate. Army to unify. An army
swollen with love of country, flushed with pride.
The Bible quivers in his hand.
Ellsworth’s body tangled in a flag.
Our grief , a cry for war.
Cheers, chants, elegies swarm our minds,
summer heat buzzes our necks, impedimenta stings our backs.
Lustrous tunics, heartstring-stitched
nest our courage.
Drums beat, blankets roll, knapsacks hoisted
to tumble from sore arms.

Somewhere south of Washington
lilies wilt upon our breasts.
What age of iron and wool calloused our skin and blistered our fathers’
What others began
we will end.

Huzzas evaporate moisture from shuddering cords.
Far from papa’s pastures, a galaxy of brass clatters to life,
streams over hillside, hometowns shoulder-to-shoulder, familiar faces unfurled.
Smoke obliterates the spectacle.
Fissures open in sky, fire-hewn infants crowning the blue.
The butcher’s boy gives birth to a serpent
as earth conceives his blood.

A steam whistle shrieks beneath my feet.
I try
advance as through water.
A severed finger points forever through trampled grass.
The butcher’s boy gives birth forever in some corner,
the great rope released from its coil.
I melt, I surge,
curl in,

The family mirror, a slow liquid,
distorts our lower bodies.
Brother and I stand, gawping at identical opposites.
We stand before a warped reflection, what we see terrifies, so
we run.


also by Brendan Hamilton- Jerusalem Plank Road, Durga Press, Loveland, Colorado

Stars&Bars graphic, TDD Inc. 34 Crest Rd. Rowayton CT. (203)-866-1096,