I set my alarm by an inner dove,
wake to crows.
Wherever the jay flies
my sparrows come after.
But above the jittery sandpiper,
a petrel with a beach of wing
is an intimate of the sun, single robin on the skylawn,
never flocking with the starlings,
singular and steady—planet light, hawk gaze,
heron waiting on the fishrise.
Within that silence find love even for the carrion birds—
vulture, raven, gull.
Home Front, Pilot’s Wife
In this dream you were taller and very strong,
your arms hung from your shoulders—vast—
and large, heavy like the David’s, heavier.
But you were still too, unresponsive
and helpless in it. I wanted you
badly, nursing at your beauty
making the happy whimpers of suppressed
delight. And your quiet
was precious to me. I wrapped
my legs around yours, warmed
their lukewarm grief. I will hold you
inside me, I said. Your eyes
which were not your eyes, but
the large saucers of fairytale dogs
in my blue book. I will hold you.
Drone: The Pilot’s Wife in Church
She wears a kind of doily hair-pinned to her crown,
her glory, the pastor says. She stands and the hymn
is sung along with the keyboard, the electric
guitar and the lead singer, heavy eyeliner, a tear
in the voice. The pastor stands at the rail, waiting
on sinners, scanning the congregation.
What should she pray? That her husband’s hands
should stop shaking? That he should stop working
on the Sabbath? That he should stop having those dreams,
stop getting up and playing video games in the dark?
Stop turning out the lights and then talking?
Stop not talking? Stop hating her for listening?
Stop killing those men who kill us? Stop killing
those children who cluster around them? Stop
the women who he must watch collect the bodies,
parts of bodies, who are themselves sometimes nothing
but bodies? Stop watching the bodies get into carts,
into trucks, into the trunks of cars? Stop being paid
for watching, for locating, for prosecuting,
for firing? Stop fighting for the insurance to pay,
for the VA to pay, for the government to pay.
What should she pray? How can God answer?
Like a grizzly’s eyesight, not sure until tasting, until scent-blasted by hunter or deer
what is meat or meet, what is finished, if anything is finished in the midst.
Deer met in mist, the humble gun, fingered in fear, three thousand
black bags and counting, already a small town of souls, giving up self-governance
to rise and gather, condense. I don’t know them. This is the way I hold on,
saying to the makers of the dark zippered burkas, where have you laid them?
Kim Garcia is the author of The Brighter House, winner of the 2015 White Pine Press Poetry Prize, DRONE, winner of the 2015 Backwaters Prize, and Madonna Magdalene, released by Turning Point Books in 2006. Her chapbook Tales of the Sisters won the 2015 Sow’s Ear Poetry Review Chapbook Contest. Her poems have appeared in such journals as Crab Orchard Review, Crazyhorse, Mississippi Review,Nimrod and Subtropics, and her work has been featured on The Writer’s Almanac. Recipient of the 2014 Lynda Hull Memorial Prize, an AWP Intro Writing Award, a Hambidge Fellowship and an Oregon Individual Artist Grant, Garcia teaches creative writing at Boston College.