Oh mud lover, oh dirt, oh sewage,
I’ve been wearing April like galoshes,
Stomping your ditch
in a swill of brown water,
nursing your weeds like tits.
Well, that’s over, it’s May tomorrow—
no more quicksand for me.
Is this love, this ooze and stain?
Your leeches ride my elbows.
Your scum exhales me.
Great exhaust, the monoxide
you call admirable
bubbles up from a low extreme,
up from the muck, up from the wallow,
hissing like a let-go fart.
There’s a stink, I’m raw from
this virtue, this clean clean clean rape.
Finger of smiles and lies,
I am on to you. Fecal soup,
your brown scrubbing
has a perfectly pious air.
Immaculate of the marsh,
diamond in a quagmire,
how to you rise and rise and rise
in your own estimation?
The trick of caress, say, a masturbation
toxic to others.
Never mind. Up you go, away, away,
dirty incandescence through the sun.
–Jane Eaton Hamilton
First appeared in Steam-Cleaning Love, Brick Books
Jane Eaton Hamilton is a Vancouver, BC author of eight books which have been nominated for a number of prizes and have appeared on the Guardian’s Best of the Year list and on the Sunday Times bestseller list. Her short fiction has twice won first prize in the CBC Literary Award (2003/2014). Short work has appeared in the NY Times, Macleans, The Globe and Mail, Numero Cinq, En Route, VIDA, Seventeen Magazine, Salon, Siécle 21 (Paris), POEM (UK).