Submit your work, meet writers and drop the ads. Become a member
She thought she could feed
his fire on her own.
She had a chameleon heart
And a wandering soul,
But there was a fire in her eyes
That refused to go out for anybody.
“God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.”
   —The Serenity Prayer

I. Heron

I was born arrow-straight, built for flying,
Three skipping stones past Otter Creek, hollow
Bones blanketed by slate gray, blue stones slight
And callused by well-worn prayers and shallow
Swells of minnows — subterranean aches —
And water cold on yellow scales, hardened
By the calamity of sunsets, lakes —
The drowning weight of too many pardons.
Dip low, tend this broken shoreline sweetly,
Spread shadowed wings and break honeyed silence.
Forgiveness take flight at dusk, discreetly
Written in psalms. Tepid soul find balance
Between the calm, a resting river space
This old trembling mind cannot displace.

II. Quetzal

After the storm, the chaos and quiet
Meet like dew poised on timid fingertips
And shallow grasses to quell the riot
Stirring inside. Fix fragments of this ship
Made of broken parts. My soul’s petrichor:
Inhale failure with a benediction
That fills tired lungs with bravery, before
Nature proposed expectations — fiction
Taut and mended by truth. The earth exhales
In breaths refreshed by rain, accompanied
By loudening trills and harmonious tales —
The tremor of circumstance, and the need
To continue existence like the weeds
That grow in sidewalks despite human greed.

III. The Pelican and the Gull

American Magicicadas choose
To surface seventeen years after birth
For the purpose of recreation. The Blue
Pelican cannot quietly unearth
The patterns of the tide without the gull,
But she does so with tireless trials
And the moon at her back — the lunar pull
Shaping stray shells for a little while.
Twenty-one years of tawny solitude
Shattered by innate desires, buried
Deep by stubborn aches, and kindly allude
To breathing for the first time. Weight carried
And lifted by rekindled hope, reaching
Sands like a button shell kissing the beach.

IV. Kingfisher

I pondered self-acceptance before diving
Into seas uncharted, with the patience
Of Tibetan monks softly harvesting
Grains of sand on an abandoned shore. Since
Emptiness is impermanence, we change
Like shifting seas suspended in nature,
Born from the crease of God’s hand — rearranged
Flaws bound by circumstance. Come close. Nurture
This silent heart into awakening.
Beyond these gray waters surges the sun,
Hopeful in the wake of a newfound spring,
Ochre and alizarin. We become —
Aware that no one saves us but ourselves,
With self-worth rising in tremendous swells.
— for the American Mustang

Strung up on one leg, bled dry while alive,
unloaded off trailers crammed full
of the crippled and blind —mares
giving birth on three legs, foals trampled
by stallions, and a wave of fear
hovering over tossing manes
like the sea after Moby **** surfaced
for the first time. Last year,

135,000 horses died —

rounded up in hundreds and sent
off to slaughter like feeder goldfish,
three stops from Canada
or Cabo, displaced from plains
once revered for their livelihood.

In 1969, Vonnegut
wrote, “And so it goes…”

In 2061, our children will ask about the wild
horses who used to live in their backyards
as they catch the last fireflies and bottle
them up in jars, flickering and dying
like tired bulbs giving up on electricity —

2015 sees Henderson, Nevada grasses paying tribute
to power-plant-lines and a suburb built
on Tralfamadore fiction: house-mounds
and picket fences caging domesticated dogs,
curb-lined streets and caution signs, billboard
warnings of humanity’s fixation with progression,
combined like coffee with an overabundance
of half-and-half and too much sugar — only 99 cents
at Dunkin down a little ways, and home
to the dreamers who forget the word freedom.
— after Melancholia

She’d have walked through fire for him —
A stranger with a fractured chameleon soul,
Tumultuous depths and misguided hymns,
But promises of patience and a steady stroll.

Stranger still, a fractured chameleon soul,
Restless beneath wind-tremors and silt-clay loam.
But with promises of patience and a steady stroll,
She follows the moon that leads her home

Restlessly. Wind tremors and silt-clay loam,
Burnt umber flicker-beats and faded birches.
She follows the moon, led home
To an abandoned, white-chip-painted church.

Beyond umber flicker-beats and faded birches,
He preached of salvation, but fell privy
Inside the abandoned, white-chip-painted church
Where green was gold and gold was envy.

He preached of salvation, but fell privy
To tumultuous depths and a misguided hymn.
Green was gold and gold was envy —
She’d have walked through fire for him.
—for Mariel

She sells 2 sole paltas beside street  
vendors who whistle at crop-top-clad girls,
spewing profanities complete
with broken English. She has four girls
hungry at home. They dream of science, stars,
constellations that spiral and sparr
with particles that make us what we are —

interrupted by howling dogs, the 5
AM tamale man, and stray **** crows.
Amid dust-clouds of Zona D, the sun arrives
over the peak Luis claims once exposed
his innocent eyes to an angel: one
tale of faith raised on culture come undone
presently. Poet Andrea Gibson

writes, “I said to the sun, ‘Tell me about
the Big Bang.’ And the sun said, ‘it hurts to
become.’” At dusk, Mariel takes a Combi out
sixteen stops from Quince, up 302
steps to a turquoise shack and a red rose
garden, and plants avocado seeds at her toes.
Poco a poco, se anda lejos.
I want to fold up Constantinople
And tuck it in the crease of my pocket
With a rock and a harlequin opal,
Nestled against your map of Nantucket —
A keepsake framed by a tired locket.

Sunlight pours past panes like gold tapestries,
Blue-sky-checkmates belonging to Vermeer
And his Woman with a Balance — trophies:
A man crowned a chivalrous cavalier,
A gentleman of this tremendous sphere

Misunderstood by societal norms,
And expectations set by precedent.
All while a bird coos cucurucu, warmed
By yellow light, freed from discontented
Murmurs with song. I want to read segments

Of the map on the curved back of your hand,
Knuckle-mounds like the knees of a woman
You once said you loved between shorthanded
Compliments and the words of Walt Whitman —
Blanketed by a bible and a man.

Maybe our web-tangled thoughts coexist
With the sky, place our feet firm on the ground.
Or maybe they’re a window that insists
On temptations, the mind, rewritten sounds,
Coming alive, and wanting to be found.
Next page