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  • Jacob Hammer

Water Worship: Jacob Hammer

Jacob Hammer has been writing poetry for eight years and has received a Master of Fine Arts degree from Vermont College of Fine Arts. His poetry can be found in See Spot Run Literary Journal, Three and a Half Point 9, Fourth & Sycamore, Peacock Journal, Anti-Heroin Chic, Shantih (forthcoming), and has been featured in the Pine River Anthology.

Jacob emphaiszes that these poems explore the speaker's connection to nature and especially the incessant call of waters. At the same time, they also explore the connections that people form with each other and the pile of metaphors we are constantly peering through to achieve this end.


An Invitation You Will Find Buried in Your Papers Sometime Later

The sweat on my forehead

is a new baptism

The only house of worship I know

is any wave in any water

Would you join me there

I worship over the morning coffee

I worship in the shower

I worship over the dishes

fall into ecstasy in the Fall rains

am made a saint by the Ocean

I am no weaver

no orchestrator

no recorder or

replacer of the pieces

life snips away

Friend, give me the strings

of your life and I

will give you


because I am no master of strings

Come with me down

the wide river

in the boat I have made

of newspapers and Sunday bulletins

and we will kiss the sand


Come with me and we will

both be saints in the

rising waves

Water Worship

I want to replace

all the oxygen in me

so light and empty

No, I want to breathe in

the whole river

I want the wrinkles on my


permanent and

my cells

everyone of them swollen

and drunk with it all

I want to live in ocean


out and up and

sinking low with the moon

I need to put out

the fires wandering across my


and up the muscles of my legs

I crouch and turn

right and left

with tired eyes

and curse the animal

that feeds the breath

curse everything around me

the fire won’t illuminate

the edges of

Time to go out in the

cold without a coat on

and at least make it to the creek

if not the river

not the ocean

then a creek

To bow and make

breath a prayer again

Metaphors in the Moment before I Answer

Yes, I’m thinking of myself as a tree again

The course of the river has been moving

further away each year

But I don’t think it’s much to worry about

Let us be real

I am a man

and I move away from the river

I am the one who often forgets to love the afternoons

before they pass on

In my half-awake state

I can be anywhere

the dream world is quicker and I’ve

been trying to live fast

I am not sure where my roots are anymore

my eyes keep pulling me off to the horizon

my ears pull me to the sea

The feeling of wings dragging behind me again

dirtied and baptized in

melt-off from street corners

Now the smell of rain in the morning

Now her grace as she walks off in a towel

vague French Roast in the air

Is she the current

Curtains are only beautiful when they move

how they talk with the windows

quietly when no one is in the room

The windows cannot stop watching

and the curtains cannot comfort with their blindness

I don’t want to go outside

But I am glad it’s raining

Walk off

Leave on lunch break

let them figure it out

in an hour or so

when they finally open

their eyes to a window

I’ll be on the road north

turning on my headlights

at the last minute

I’ll stop and buy gas

at one of those halogen islands of lights

a ways out of town

buy cigarettes and a candy bar

then turn off my phone and start the car again

There’s a snowstorm coming

but I’ve already made a map

of its whims

and I’ll ride them the rest of the way up

Up to some peninsula town

with two bars

and a pier into the lake

I’ll sleep in my car

listening to the radio

and the wind curling against the windows

all night

The lake’s like that

bringing you out to the farthest point

then asking you to have a seat

in the cold

with the light fading only faster

and faster

My Body Quivers in this Wind and I Like It

I am a tree full of termite tunnels

about to be blown down

I am one of those people you see

walking alone at night

who seem never to look up

You are listening

you are saying it’s only a little wind

you are a curb-side vendor

selling your quota

smiling at the sun

with bugs between your teeth

I still love you

Now we’re two people standing in a house with no music


arguing over what to have for


when to turn off the lights

I’m going crazy

singing songs to myself

all day

You can listen in

but I won’t look at you

‘til I’m finished

I don’t feel like speaking

until this song is done


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The image of Quasimodo is by French artist Louis Steinheil, which appeared in  the 1844 edition of Victor Hugo's "Notre-Dame de Paris" published by Perrotin of Paris.


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