Poetry Monday: Kimberly Mahler









Kimberly Mahler

 Kimberly Mahler, former editor of Caesura, the literary magazine of Poetry Center San Jose, California, is executive director of The  International Poetry Library of San Francisco. Her recent poems and other writing have appeared or are forthcoming in The Cimarron Review, Naugatuck River Review, 5 A.M. and other publications.  She teaches college writing in the San Francisco Bay Area and lives in Half Moon Bay with her nine-year-old autistic son, whom she calls “the inspiration behind much of my writing and life.”

Irene Willis
Poetry Editor

Seven Year Old Artist at the Airport

We are all hunched over crumbs.
It’s not envy, more voyeurism,
little fingers, pressing a peach
pencil onto the page–he draws
wiener dogs, four of them
like points of a compass;

which vessels whisper to the nerve:
canine, genus wiener?
Hive of synapse. Elegant

seven pounds, maybe six
retrieving, licking his cheek
when he flies home to his pretty

now town, but the article next to me
says the good Samaritan tries
to put the wounded poodle out

by hitting it with a hammer.
Tidy misery, resilient bitch.
Two hours later a sheriff

feeds the dog with what we
all want: a few quiet bullets.
I used to not be this hungry.



 The daffodil fails to follow;
her head hinges, drops in an hour
to the kitchen counter.

I confess, I hate the messenger
just as much as the message,
squatting in the maw of protocol.

No one should tear up over such
small percentiles. I was a child
once, crawling on my knees for it.

The flower sits in its own stew,
It has no golden chin to lift:
no recall of bulb, dream of root. 

Beating between tock and blue,
the dial life swells, doesn’t fit: 
eye and hook won’t meet, ever.

Does each demise need a megaphone? 
His brain is a peta-Jesus: a gallon of blood,
dumb stigmata, wet bouquet.


Winter Succor

There’s not much left; portions to divide
among the wide open mouths. No one knows
how to die. Find some way to meet me
before spring. We could be big in Chinatown.

The wind is singing past the mission bells.
So what, if I’m jealous of the corner funeral.
Distinction in black linen, purple irises,
pearly handkerchiefs held like doves. 

The days will grow longer–to listen is to see.
Yes, I have strange blood and a little milk.
The dogs are digging: bone, bird, body–ashes.

Dust on your shelf–I’d be home.

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