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Carol Vanderveer Hamilton has a Ph.D. in English from Berkeley, an M.F.A. from Vermont College, and a B.A. in Comparative Literature from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She has published a wide range of writing, including scholarly articles in academic journals, reviews in alternative papers, op-ed pieces, two chapbooks of poetry, and poems in many literary journals, including The Paris Review, The North American Review, Poetry Miscellany, Salmagundi, and Frank (in Paris). A longtime citizen of Berkeley, California, she now lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Her new collection of poems is entitled Blindsight (Carnegie Mellon University Press, 2005). 



Blinded by eyes that remember us
blank and unreadable,

a torso twisted in tension,
someone's reticent hand

found, like a vase on a table,
thinglike, immutable,

in a world unperturbed and inviolate
its edges distinct as petals,

they persist in their movements,
like well-rehearsed dancers

with no lines to speak, only
gestures of resignation. 

He is winsome, like a dimple.
She is wholesome, like a hunk of bread. 

They move through space without knowing it.
Time laps at their feet, topside

and underwater
where, among submarines, they dream

of exploding Polynesian atolls and 
inaudible announcements,

echoes of a soliloquy that, dying,
Hamlet choked back. 


April was colder than it used to be. Ice
under fingernails, snowflakes

embedded in skin. Nobody
had an explanation, just sounds

that melt on the lips,
drip on the linoleum. By July 

the sky advertised rain. 
Ragged men crouched in doorways

held out their tweed caps. 
Shopkeepers slept until noon. 

September sweltered. 
The brain merely flickered in the attic. 

Thought itself seemed physical,
an injury, an artificial limb. Now

it's the end of December. Death
has a peculiar luster,

the polished lid of a coffin. Sleep
like a mime's impersonation

goes on sleeping, 

the mourners lining the roadside,
their faces inscrutable. 


An implicit rapture where the dunes
broke into lineaments: the evening rippled

past ice cream stands and breakwaters.
Everyone knew a hurricane was coming.

Fleeing their grey clapboard houses,
the whole sum of sleep, they caught

a long ride on the rip tide into paradise
where plates of salmon and new potatoes

awaited them. Meanwhile
we were snapped off, floating in the ocean

as waves trembled over smashed perspectives.
What did they think of us then?

We who memorized how the rain fell on everyone,
determined what they would be

when they didn't grow up.






copyright Carol Vanderveer Hamilton