The bedrooms smelled of cow urine and buttery
corn. The shed was a nest for spiders with the
faces of children. The sun
a cracked plate, sponged and rewashed, returning
like the dark cycle of chores and meals, the fat-
necked men filling them-
selves until they could barely move from their chairs,
the women chatting slowly in the kitchen, washing
and stacking, the low
white ceiling dripping from the steam of the sink.
* The title is a line is from Affinity by Sarah Waters,
a queer gothic drama set in the late 19th Century
** This poem is part of a series provisionally called
Your Body is a Curséd House
Christine E. Hamm (she/her) is a queer & disabled English professor, social worker, and student of ecopoetics. She has a PhD in English and lives in New Jersey. She recently won the Tenth Gate Prize from Word Works for her manuscript Gorilla. She has had work featured in North American Review, Nat Brut, Painted Bride Quarterly, and many others. She has published six chapbooks and several books—including Saints & Cannibals.