“Home” by Kerry Hammerton

Waves slap against rocks—
the sound settles into my marrow
when I walk,
so I write sea and stone,
seaweed and whale.
Water’s rough tongue
washes me
when I swim
so I write salt and sand,
Steenbras and shark.
If I had walked in the mountains
I would write tree and fynbos,
maybe otter, boots, clay.
If I had walked with friends
I would write laughter and talk.
I would write friendship and love.
At my desk there are books and pen,
and ink, poetry. The hard line of words
etched through paper onto wood.
I have been moving home since before I was born,
my mother tells stories of me running
into my grandfather’s chair, how my brother slammed
my thumb in a patio door. So I add scar and family.
From my memories there are other words:
house and honeysuckle, conversation, jump, dig,
grass, dog, cat, kitchen, farm, love.
I trace my finger over the word home
and it turns to flesh and pulse—
so I write heart and blood.
If there was a fire I would take nothing
but my passport, pen, an empty notebook.


Kerry Hammerton holds an MA in Creative Writing (with Distinction) from Rhodes University. She has published poetry in various South African and international literary journals and anthologies—most recently Hallelujah for 50ft Women (Bloodaxe Books: 2015). Kerry has two poetry collections These are the lies I told you (Modjaji 2010) and The Weather Report (2014). Her short story “Spider Woman” was published in the Short Sharp Stories 2017 anthology Trade Secretswww.kerryhammerton.com

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