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C.N.P Poetry 

  • Writer's pictureCathexis Northwest Press

Come on Hamburger

By: Henry Cherry

I could see the soft

Alpaca blanket.

Chevrons running grey

to white, fringed on

both ends.

I could see the blue twill

of the small bed

stuffed inside with feathered

down cushions from a sofa

surrendered to goodwill.

And there were caftans

that draped over an old, old

body as it escaped

into a morphine

guided coda.

I stood and viewed

the slowing momentum

of a tongue flopped into

final immobility.

Maybe that stung the most.

I have shoes and photographs

of pill bottles, ties

and collections- books,

art, glass ware.

They are too complex

for much triumph.

I eat a hamburger with cheese,

and that is the championship,

as I had done that with those I

knew before the tenses changed.


Henry Cherry has been a cowhand in South Texas, a chef in New Orleans, and a bar owner in Maryland. Now a journalist and photographer, his home base is Los Angeles. A recent story was submitted for the Pushcart and a poem nominated for the Orison Anthology Award. He's been featured as a reader at the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles and at Litquake in San Francisco and his work has appeared in Los Angeles Review of Books, Scalawag, Australia's Cordite Poetry Review, The Louisiana Review, and Spectrum Literary Journal.

"The title of the poem is familial. My parents were getting ready to have kids of their own and so my godfather dispatched his youngest son, who was about six or seven, to help my folks understand what having a kid around was really like. The three of them drove down from Baltimore to North Carolina for a beach vacation. It was a long drive and it was getting late in the afternoon, when, from out of the backseat came this kids voice. Come on hamburger.

Last year, in the space of several months, my stepfather died and my aunt died, leaving my mother somewhat solitary in her existence. In a lot of ways, this poem was me reaching out to her while acknowledging the death of my dog in February, right before I came down with Covid 19. Everything in the world went and tilted. There was a lot of mournfulness, but also there was some hope in the physical things that transmitted loved ones- the blue twill dog bed, the photographs, the caftan that laid over my stepdad when he died. Both my stepdad and my father were lovers of my mother and hamburgers. So there’s a commitment to family, warts and all, here in this thing."


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