Vox Populi

A Public Sphere for Poetry, Politics, and Nature

Sam Hamill: On the Anniversary of Her Death


Awakened from a restless, wine-inspired sleep,

I wake in the night to find Yuan Chen’s elegy

and read, “Even if I had wings,

the net of grief would snare me.”


Pouring a good Malbec, I smelled it,

just as I had that night ten years ago

in Buenos Aires, Gray laughing with delight

at first taste, and I took a sip.


“We should go to Mendoza,” she grinned,

“since we’re both in love with her grapes.”

And now her ever-present absence,

my only true companion. Her beautiful dog


and the first echo of her laughter.

Yuan Chen met his wife in dreams each night.

I meet mine in a glass of wine,

in a dog that barks for attention


when I’m too lonely to play; I meet mine

in a menu, in a taste of a simple empanada,

in a steak from the parrilla — “rosada,

sin sangre” — This net of grief


is empty. All things pass through.

Even as I sit, weeping with my wine,

here is Yuan Chen, my friend, and here

my late wife, and the stars above her


and a full moon on the rise.



From Habitation: Collected Poems published by Lost Horse Press.

Copyright 2014 by Sam Hamill. Reprinted by permission of the author.

Order a copy of the book.



Sam Hamill


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