L I S A D O M I N G U E Z A B R A H A M
Some Have Just Arrived
My angels don’t drift in ethereal kimonos
They don’t wear haloes or ash-painted eyes
Guides shaped as breeze or birdsong
Some are ancestors
Others just arrived
Too young to drive, my cousin and I
wore lipstick and smiles to hitchhike,
holding our breath against the driver’s reek,
some junkie who hit the curb when he stopped
right where we asked. Squeezing into
a shout-crowded house, we took turns being tipped back
open-mouthed for older boys, their pours of tequila and mixer,
until gunshot shattered plaster. We scrambled
and ran, then crept silent as prey
eight miles through midnight,
yet thought ourselves alone
when we reached home unharmed.
Tribes of the visible world: orcas and aspens
My guides convene in
Tribes of the invisible
Sometimes I see them, though,
in someone I barely know:
the coworker who turned in my timesheet
when I overlooked the deadline.
How would I have fed my kids
the last week of that hard month?
She smiles—It’s nothing.
Sometimes they refuse me
It’s hard to receive that gift
Their faith in my strength
Sometimes they give me
X-ray eyes to see if I can stand
Seeing spleens lungs and hearts
In the people around me
To see if I can stand
Training for my own arrival
Virus: Variation on the Theme
The Golden Gate Bridge is a sieve,
miniature across the bay
though it’s unclear
whose dreams are caught there.
From a hilltop we try to imagine
the Bay Area plucked clean of buildings,
the bay clear to the sea and twice as wide,
but constant hum sullies the air:
millions of cars, the song of a virus.
This is the apex
of our spread. Descendants of settlers
who inherited trespass,
we note the dirt fire road
dividing green from green,
how field grass, not yet sprung to seed,
already crisps along leaf blades.
Once, the road was a thread
for coyote and quail,
and we imagine the people
who paused here on their seasonal trek
listening to wind sibilant through grass
as they translated each riffle.
They knew these hills belong
to the hills themselves.
We share with them
only our steps, a palimpsest,
as we hike back down
to the trailhead parking lot
and into our signature season:
fire and ash.
Lisa Dominguez Abraham’s poems have appeared in journals such as Southern Review and Poetry East. Her collection Mata Hari Blows a Kiss won the 2016 Swan Scythe Chapbook Contest, and her 2018 book Coyote Logic was published by Blue Oak Press. She has work forthcoming in Puerto del Sol.