CHRISTINE HAMM has an M.A. in creative writing, is the literary editor of the magazine, Wide Angle, and teaches a poetry writing workship in New York City.  She has been published in Stirring, Octavo, Shampoo Poetry, Poetry Midwest and many others.

for Joseph Cornell

Why is it that when people speak of joy
or paint its substance,
the canvas is a vast
blue sky or an acre of snow,
maybe by a few black boughs.

My joy teaches me small:
tiny and dark with delicate moving parts
in the shadows,
like the ripple of a salmon gill
under the river
or a small vintage machine
with obscure purpose and
gears whirring.

My joy is not made in the huge
bright handclap of God.
It is made by tiny mice paws
in the mud. It is made of straw
and teeth,
with a few

Christine Hamm