Patricia Hamilton – 2 poems 

The Day Everything Changed



The English Professor Reminisces






the fifth


grade I longed


to become a writer.






now I


see my fate


was sealed the day




Mr. Cheney was called


away from class.


He handed






our reading group’s text


and told me


to carry








Coffeehouse Elegy




The chair you sat in


belongs to no one


and everyone,


comfortably angled


toward its companion,


brown leather wheezing


hello and goodbye


as patrons perch


to sip their coffee,


then flit away into their day.


Yet now that you’re gone


that chair is yours, bearing


the weight of your absence


for the flock of nameless regulars


that swarm in each morning,


nod to one another,


then settle in to work or read.


Even a migratory customer


like the man with the backpack


who snored softly in the other chair


for two weeks last summer–


who can say where he flew off to?–


would, were he to alight again,


sense the empty shape


of your presence,


would recall you filling in


your crossword, absorbed,


or quietly studying your Bible,


looking up with a charmed smile


if someone you knew


stopped to greet you.


Mornings are chillier now,


but the golden autumn light


still pours through the window


and pools in your empty chair


as if waiting


for your return.




A California native, Patricia Hamilton lives and works in Jackson, TN.  Things that make her happy include travel, dark chocolate, and jazz.  She won the 2015 Rash Award in Poetry.  Her first volume of poetry, The Distance to Nightfall, is available from Main Street Rag Publishing.