June 6, 2018 >

June 6, 2018 >

Jamie's Collage.png

Two Poems

by Jamie Houghton


My mother is terrified of chimney fires, the smell of gas, explosions,
switches. In case of lightning move away from all windows
unplug everything, DO NOT SHOWER. Light the oil lamps.
Do not fall in the brook
do not drive the snowmobile
over ice. She is a whistle.
Her voice rakes the day
into a tight, coiled pile of tinder
waiting for a match.
She said of the three sisters I am the most talented
but on the field
didn’t have a competitive bone
in my body. To go to war every day
against my nature. Remember how
she keeps orchids alive through winter
bunching them all together on the kitchen table with heat lamps.
Red, pink, foamy white, she dips their roots in water
one by one polishes their leaves with milk so the pores expand
take in more sun. She feels they quiver in thanks
and that no one believes her.




Special skills include knowing how to go through the gate
not over, under or around. Whichever one is open.
Excels at handling unstable people
and difficult ingredients.
Takes full responsibility
for any broken flatware.
Can carry a shot glass on head.
Will cook liver paste for wounded dogs.
Can be your ride to a funeral.
Will drive getaway car
small to medium crimes only.
Will cut your hair
but probably shouldn’t.
Can drive with knees.
Specializes in sympathetic throat humming.
Can walk on eggshells.
Probably shouldn’t.
Will work for sunshine.
Will work through darkness.
Will become motor.
Will travel.


Jamie Houghton is a poet, musician and teaching artist. Her poetry chapbook, "Burn Site in Bloom," was released by Musehick Publications in 2017.