Poems by Forrest Hamer
When the men got happy in church,
ppp they shouted and jumped straight up.
But the women's trances
ppp made them dance with moaning; so,
I dreaded Rev. Johnson's sermons
ppp near their end, hated the trouble
he was causing inside
ppp the souls of women sweating
and beginning to breathe fast.
ppp One day, I worried, my mother
would let go and lose herself
ppp to him, become as giddy
as when my father was coming home
ppp on leave. Just as silly.
Yet, when it finally happened,
ppp I felt only left behind.
Years later, another first time,
ppp I heard my moan echo inside
a girl's ear and recognized
ppp how woeful pleasure feels.
I then began to wonder
if there weren't some joy still
to give in to, make me shout
not as men do but as a woman.
It troubles me.
ppp I do not have a woman's body
but fear that moaning will betray
ppp this want in me, or another
to be like a woman. Mostly,
ppp I fear that moaning will uncover
the love for my mother that is still
ppp so deep that I want little more
than to be with her as closely as I can.
From CALL AND RESPONSE (Farmington, 1995)