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Hamster Thrown from Monster Truck

by Kathleen Winter

This is the headline from The Onion
we love best.

                                               What does this say
              about us?

At least our schadenfreude’s minimalist?

Neither of us ever had a hamster
for a pet.

                    Or even knew one as a friend’s

                               or the teacher’s pet: a hamster for the masses
                               of a third grade class, for instance;


nor do we know anything of gerbils.

                               Not on their own account,
                                              neither their relationship to hamsters.

But monster trucks—
these we’ve seen.

                                              Monsters of all models, guzzlers

                               on the byways of our humble town,

rumbling above us at the stoplight
like a frisky two-story building,

                                              charging forward at the change
                               on super-sized tires,

swinging, sometimes, from the bumper
a pair of balls.


The hamster’s monster truck has thrown him
for a loop.

                               We think it probably shook him up.

He took the last lap of the treadmill track too fast!

              Fans in the bleachers standing
on their seats,

                               the sun a beer-haze through their shades.


We hope the hamster’s landed
on his feet.


Kathleen Winter’s first collection of poems won the Antivenom Poetry Prize and will be published by Elixir Press in 2012. Her poems have appeared in The New Republic, FIELD, Tin House, The Cincinnati Review, and elsewhere. She recently completed an MFA at Arizona State University, where she edited poetry for Hayden’s Ferry Review. (10/2011)

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