PoetryIssue 08 | February 2010

Two poems by Stephen Bunch


“They have no true home as hunger and the enemy pursue them from every side.” (Father Dominguez, 1776)

Abiquiú is what’s left
after the slaves were freed
and enslaved and freed again,
until they couldn’t return to their people,
Paiute, Comanche, Kiowa, Pawnee, then land
granted, Genízaros, “new troops,” to serve,
muchas gracias, the governor.

After O’Keeffe stopped painting,
but before the ravens above
the White Place cease their cries,
Abiquiú is what remains of sunlight

along the line of the muezzin’s evening call
from the spice trader’s mosque
beyond the arroyo
to the newly-mudded morada

across the highway from Bode’s
General Merchandise,
where ristras, “live minnows,”
and a Jesus Action Figure
with Glow-in-the-Dark Hands
await bored travelers.

Next to a mailbox on the way out of town
a basin of bleached bones
sits on a sand-pitted washing machine.

The Chama’s swell subsides
after July rains.
Tamarisk overtakes the cholla
along the irrigation ditches.
Jeeps with boat trailers move on.
Someone builds a new school
for someone else’s children.

 <  1 2

About the author

Stephen Bunch lives and writes in Lawrence, Kansas. His poems have appeared recently in Ithaca Lit: Lit with Art, Mudlark, Rootdrinker, Read his chapbook, Preparing to Leave (the title poem of which first appeared in The Literary Bohemian).


Read our current issue:


Two poems by Anne Babson
Vignette, Townhouse, 9 a.m. by Troy Cunio
Night Becomes Day Over the West by Megan Foley
Yukon River Aurora by D. B. Goman
Two Poems by David Havird
Cretan Love Letter by Emily Linstrom
Holland by Rick Mullin
Fear in Kenya by Kristina Pfleegor
The Lounge Lizard by Ed Shacklee
Two Poems by Sarah J. Sloat
Night Flight by Vicki Stannard
Koinonia Farms by Alina Stefanescu
Thessaloniki, Four a.m. by Anastasia Vassos
Imaginary Oceans by Jason Warren
Two Poems by F. J. Williams

Postcard prose

It’s Salty by Kelly Hill

Travel notes

Anchorage in the Great Land by Karen Benning
The Value of Small Money by Megan Hallinan
Screensaver by Sandra Larson
Thirty Cents by Tommy McAree
Gokarna by Kate McCahill
Going Places by Rachel Miller-Howard
Susanville CA: Notes From The Road by Susan Volchok