Year of yellow fire, year of worry and word wilt, year of melt, year of the march, year of the arch of the hot horizon over the aching seas. Time has reached once more into its pocket and pulled out a lighter. Might as well burn everything down. What does one do? Where does one turn? Today in the museum, a Twombly painting, enormous, green as lake water and just as smooth, which I have looked at for years but only now seen. What is it about sight that makes us blind? Perception has reached once more into its backpack, pulled out some scissors and begun cutting all my clothes into pieces of cloth. They are lined along the floor in the shape of my smallest regrets. I have never been so naked. I am like the one who says he is like the two wings of a bird trapped between three branches of a tree only four feet from the flames. What leads us to our end may not set us free. Year of black bones, year of leaf lilt, year of the bullet and ticking clock. Above us, the stars; below us the edge of a cliff. The countdown has begun.
Scratches of black, orange,
brown on the wall. A boy hides
in the doorway.
Early February. Maritza has at least twenty absences and the highest test scores—she always shows up for tests. A cold sunny day. Wind gusts around buildings, spirals candy wrappers, pebbles, and napkins, and bites through the girl’s jeans and gloves. At the handball courts by the parkway, Manny, Jacquie, Willy, Tati, and others she doesn’t know. She’s never developed proper hand-eye coordination to hit that blue ball, just as she’s never learned to whistle— it’s not what nice girls do. Her ears hurt, but it’s better than being in the classroom. From a bench, she watches pot smoke dance like wasps, then dissipate with the wind above the concrete wall. Each smoke strand a drunk father, bruised mother, broken window, torn shirt.
Landscape is inside
as much as out. We see what
we are where we are.
Luisa Caycedo-Kimura is a Colombian-born writer, translator, and educator. Her honors include a John K. Walsh Residency Fellowship at the Anderson Center at Tower View, an Adrienne Reiner Hochstadt Fellowship at Ragdale, and a Robert Pinsky Global Fellowship in Poetry. Her work has also been nominated for the Pushcart Prize. A former attorney, Luisa left the legal profession to pursue her passion for writing. She holds an MFA from Boston University. Luisa’s poems appear or are forthcoming in The Cincinnati Review, Sunken Garden Poetry 1992-2011, RHINO, Mid-American Review, Nashville Review, Jelly Bucket, Connecticut Review, and elsewhere.
Dean Rader has written, edited, or co-edited 11 books. His debut collection of poems, Works & Days, won the 2010 T. S. Eliot Poetry Prize and Landscape Portrait Figure Form (2014) was named by The Barnes & Noble Review as a Best Poetry Book. Three books appeared in 2017: Suture, collaborative poems written with Simone Muench (Black Lawrence Press); Bullets into Bells: Poets and Citizens Respond to Gun Violence, edited with Brian Clements & Alexandra Teague (Beacon), and Self-Portrait as Wikipedia Entry (Copper Canyon), a finalist for the Oklahoma Book Award and the Northern California Book Award. Recent poems have appeared or are forthcoming in The New York Times, Kenyon Review, Waxwing, New England Review, Southern Review, Harvard Review, and Best of the Net. He is a professor at the University of San Francisco and a 2019 Guggenheim Fellow in Poetry.