what kind of woman does such things

illustration of lilacs, an albatross with spoons inside, crickets, in black, green and purple hues, with a slender moon on top
Art by Kristina Closs

Some Nights

by Kate Baer

Some nights she walks out to the
driveway where the lilacs blooms and
lies down on the warm pavement even
though the neighbors will see and wonder
what kind of woman does such things.

There she stares up at the slender moon
and thinks about the baby albatross filled
with discarded spoons or the time a friend
asked what she was working on these days
and she answered, “Who has the time?”
even though she meant something else

Across the lawn the crickets sing while the
earth lets out its tired breath and wanders
through the trees to greet her.

from What Kind of Woman


I wash her hands with summer rain.

Illustration by Kristina Closs

“Taproot and Cradle” by Khaled Mattawa (1964-)

Evening coffee, and my mother salts
her evening broth—not equanimity,
but the nick of her wrist—

and my mother bakes bread,
and my mother hobbles knees locked,
and my mother carries the soft stones of her years.

Fists balled in my pocket,
riding the century’s drift,
I carry a wish and a wound.

It’s raining a noisy frost,
the inhabitants’ cruel happy laughs,
their sighs and curses,

small upheavals that slide
from their bellies,
down to their freezing toes..

And the city trudges, and night
loosens its reins, a stolen bulldozer,
a tank full of clowns.

Who’s calling
my name
from the window now?

She touches her hair—
She caresses her beauty
like the coffin of a child.

O pen of late arrivals.
O knife of darkened temples.
O my scurrying, my drunken snakes. 

I wash her hands with summer rain.
I remember the killed enemy.
I remember my good friends.