Two Poems by Cameron Morse

My Costume

I am Captain Hook
for Halloween, hook
always because of this
ridiculous left hand,
and the tumor’s chasing me
down with the time
ticking in its belly, the time
left to me. The tumor’s
packed my severed hand in there
too, I imagine, its knuckles
dissolving in a vat of stomach acid,
its hairy digits digitized
as the data by which my son Peter
will remember his old man
with the red beard and the peg-like
limp, his splotchy slab
of meat flapping from its hook.


Late November tumbling
over chimney stacks,
wind swirls in the street.
I can see it in the leaves,
a new kind of augury,
the storytelling of gurneys,
yearnings yay or nay
said by the names we choose
for our children, our transgressions.
Late November vampire
bloodthirsty or bled by the vial
for the panel now that you’ve downed
the first bottle of chemicals
war-fared for your right hemisphere
like a jar of fireflies. The phlebotomist
asks you to hold the cotton ball
over the hole her needle made
in your arm but your left
hand shrivels, clings, but finally
tumbles into the invisible
circles in which the wind dervishes
down the street.

Cameron Morse is Senior Reviews editor at Harbor Review and the author of eight collections of poetry. His first collection, Fall Risk, won Glass Lyre Press’s 2018 Best Book Award. His latest is The Thing Is (Briar Creek Press, 2021). He holds an MFA from the University of Missouri—Kansas City and lives in Independence, Missouri, with his wife Lili and (soon, three) children. For more information, check out his Facebook page or website.

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