A Poetry Showcase by Reba Kingston

To be so connected

and now be 
cut off –
It makes me feel
hollow
emptied out
so very alone. 
I don’t like to touch
but I need 
a presence
by me,
the pull
of some soul’s gravity
to remember how to stand. 

Wild horses

I don’t know where you are right now. 
Caught up somewhere 
while I wait here. 
Out in the mountains with the wild horses perhaps, 
wide open skies and white snow-covered lands 
as a buffer 
between you and the world. 
Or maybe you are closer than I expect, 
a shelter-in-place somewhere in the south.
Wrangler on the off season. 
It is only April. 

It’s not right for me to ask. 
A pandemic is not reason to call lost loves 
with my heart on my cheeks, offered in every smile, 
desperate in every laugh. 
I never met your mother, 
but I bet she hates the goodbyes as much I do. 
With you, one can never know how long they might mean.
I always tried to be like your aunt, like the ocean: 
leaving the porch light on every night in case you turned up, 
pulling back but always returning to you 
with new treasures in my hands, 
never asking you to stay another day 
if you said had to leave.

What I would give to be driving northern roads with you. 
Glowing eyes staring back at us around the turns, 
as the deer, the moose, and the wolves faced your headlights full on. 
They probably heard it on the wind: 
the mountain boy found himself a partner at last.

I tried to stay on the charted areas of the map.
Never say love. 
Never ever say love. 
But maybe if I memorized the code of your barcode eyebrows, 
I would always be able to find you amidst the crowd. 

If anyone would know how to exist in solitude, 
it’s you. Months of the year spent 
crisscrossing mountain passes and fording rivers. 
A line of horses strung out 
behind you, and maybe another person or two. 
It was August when you called me with your satellite phone, 
Unknown Number
flashing in my hand. Asking question after question 
with a smile in your voice.

The last time I saw you your hair was shaggy, 
so long it covered your eyebrows. 
I couldn’t read you anymore.


Late Summer

To be sure, 
green clusters of luck on the roadside 
do not make all of life, 
but they do make moments, and watching 
you run towards me with your eyes shining and 
your hands full of bounty is more than my heart can hold.

Mom, Mom, I found a four-leaf clover! 

Clover is softer than grass 
it doesn’t tickle or scratch, rather 
it just holds my limbs softly, somewhere between freefall 
and rest. 
It covers the land like a blanket, weaving 
secrets close to the ground, holding in moisture 
for the dry afternoons. 
Purple and white flowers like 
feather dusters in late summer. 
While the days grow shorter 
and the melancholy rises up from our stomachs –
nostalgia for what we haven’t lost yet, but 
we know we will.

In January

we all fall 
to pieces
our eyes dry
while they plead
do you hear me?
our hearts choke us out
while they gasp
hold me
to the next fool
we pass on the street.

What You See

He was bent, 
gnarled fingers wrapped 
round walker handles. He moved 
so 
slowly
rooted to the ground, his feet sliding forward 
one      by           one. 
His skin
dark and weathered, 
deep grooves along his cheeks, rough as bark. 

Despite this age, years piled upon him, 
etching their memory through his center, 
whorling outwards in spirals (what you see is only a fraction
of the story) – despite all of this, he was not frail. 
Strength emanated from him: 
deep patience and sharp eyes. 
The lift of his chin said, 
I have seen the world. 
I have stood while the ground shook, 
I have loved and I have lost, 
and I survived it all. 

He spent the day along the path, 
inching 
forward. 
The chickadees came and danced 
about his head, rested for moment 
in his thicket of hair, sang him the songs 
he already knew by heart. 

Chaos

If this is how it goes: 
from brother to lover
from sister to mother,

then what other order 
can be found in chaos 

or what chaos from order?

In first year fine arts 
I had a prof with wild hair
who specialized in the bizarre.

One day he played us noise,
and explained how out of a jumble of sound
a note can be extracted –

that chaos lends itself to order,
just look at our world: 

a soup
by chance
to an ecosystem.

But today,
as I watch 
white men storm the capital,
while yesterday 
women of colour were handcuffed while they sang,

I do wonder.

Hope, Please

And in all of this we stand. 
Or we crawl. 
We kneel. 
In all of this we keep breathing. 

There is pain
leaking out
of all the corners of the world. 
In the light and in the darkness
we are all disfigured. We all crumble. 

All the broken pieces
of the bodies shattered and shocked. 
The souls twisted, some from greed, some from neglect, 
some wrung out in the name of love. 

How shall we hope for ourselves? 
How can we hope for the world? 
When countries light up and burn 
and we lay in bed, too heavy to sit up 
and start another dim morning. 

Preparation

Curls slide through my hands
rough edges, smooth undersides. 
Scraps slide into the compost, 
wet globes fall into the pot. 
It’s steady work, my fingers starting to prune from the moisture, 
my lower back twinging from leaning over for so long. 
It’s only you and I in the kitchen, 
sitting across from each other, the potato pot 
between us, the peelings gathering around our feet. 
We keep laughing, so hard I tear up, so hard 
I can’t even see my dang potato anymore. 
Is this love I wonder? 
Peeling potatoes in the afternoon 
while the sun sinks lower in the sky, 
and the mothers spin wool into yarn, 
and the fathers pace their fields, 
and the children start the long run home for dinner? 

Laszlo

Late starter with the kind eyes
smooth skull 
and a boa in a glass cage you call Ondine,
the temptress of the sea. 
you do not sleep
forget to eat
wander the streets at night listening for music

How I wish I could love you. 

Instead, I hold your shoulders, your eyes
but never your hand
for I am not your girl
but oh, I like to watch your hands
dance across piano keys. 
you are lovely when you play
you know you are lovely when you play.
you can disappear and let the music speak a while

It’s too bad it’s words 
I feed on.

See You

Inroads and under stars
between waves and above clouds
All the places we cannot reach
fill the gaps when we cannot speak.
Silence pours out of my mouth
when I want to laugh. 
My hands grow thistles
if we ever touch,
and you draw away. 
Well water, ocean spray, 
piss one and drink the other,
and still I’m in the wrong and your back
is all I see. 
Tide lines and marsh flats, 
skulls stacked, paving stones
The storm clouds gather and the goodbye 
chokes in my throat. 
How do I offer my all, and still have enough 
to breathe with? You come out
in just a towel as I leave, so I do not 
hug you, just say see you
with my eyes on yours. 
Calculations prove me wrong
over and over and under.
I always wake up upside down


Bio: Reba Kingston is a writer and wildland firefighter. Her work has appeared in The New Quarterly and has been shortlisted for the Malahat Review’s Constance Rooke CNF Prize. She is currently writing from unceded Sinixt, Ktunaxa, Secwepemc, and Syilx territories in Revelstoke, BC.





By davidlonan1

David writes poetry, short stories, and writings that'll make you think or laugh, provoking you to examine images in your mind. To submit poetry, photography, art, please send to feversofthemind@gmail.com. Twitter: @davidLOnan1 + @feversof Facebook: DavidLONan1

4 comments

  1. whoooaaaaaaaa 😮 What incredible raw energy and expression! Thank you David for the introduction to this amazing poet. “Lazlo” and “Wild horses” are the two pieces here that grabbed me the most. Reba your words are truly magical; you transported me back in a very wild place indeed. Thank you.
    Didier

    Like

  2. Ugh, my heart. Reba, thank you for sharing such energy with us in your poetry. I can’t wait to read more of your work.

    Like

Leave a Reply to Amanda Vink Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: