L I S A   D O M I N G U E Z   A B R A H A M

2 poems

Some Have Just Arrived

                    I.

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

                    II.

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.

                    III.

Tribes of the visible world: orcas and aspens


             My guides convene in


                          Tribes of the invisible

                    IV.

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.



                    V.

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.

        

 

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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.