Originally from the flatlands of central Illinois, Justin Hamm now lives and writes in Missouri. He earned an MFA
from Southern Illinois University, and his work has appeared or is forthcoming in a number of publications,
including Cream City Review, New York Quarterly, Spoon River Poetry Review, Red Rock Review, and The Brooklyn
Review. You can read more about Justin and his work at noiseforitsownsake.blogspot.com.
once upon a mighty fiddlestorm
on a fading midsummer’s eve
we were there when the sky densified
and boiled sudden black. when some
windblown southern belle
her soft white perfections
suddenly tangled in the tickly
bluegrass. when mr frog
he come a courtin’ her to the sound
of the washboard scrapes
and the crooners’ choking croaks.
then: all a downpour slanted sideways
and soggy bunting shreds.
then: all a swollen shamecloud empty.
in the heart of the downpour
john hardy nicked the silverware
and the great humidity returned
to smother the brethren gathered
like warm wet southern secrets
while mudcats big as rebel soldiers
argued the virtues of vice
with the last of the honest clergymen
in the shelter of the chapel. thank god
on this particular southern occasion
for the shelter of the chapel
and thank god always for happily never after.
we were there and we shall overcome. amen.