Patricia L. Hamilton

The Lesser Evil

I would describe

my throat as

a raging fire

to Mrs. Palmer, 

the school secretary,

so I wouldn’t

have to wait

for my mother

after school, standing

on the corner

across from where

the man tending

the church’s lawn

watched, sitting in

his old Pontiac

in the shade,

ready to kidnap

girls like me

and do things

I could not,

at seven, imagine

or name, yet


Patricia L. Hamilton is a professor of English at Union University in Jackson, TN. Her most recent work has appeared in Iodine Poetry Journal, Ibbetson Street, Broad River Review, Deep South Magazine, Cider Press Review, and Sow’s Ear Poetry Review.  Her first volume of poetry, The Distance to Nightfall, was published in 2014 by Main Street Rag.



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