PoetryIssue 08 | February 2010

Two poems by Stephen Bunch

Occupations

“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:

Poetry

on a wrought iron bench in Bristol by Jamie Donohoe
Ocean Point by Melissa Goodwin
Amaszonas, S.A. by George Guida
Santé by Zoe Karathanasi
Three poems by Athena Kildegaard
Two poems by Jane Kirwan
African Soundscape by Karla Linn Merrifield
Aubade in Transit by Rick Mullin
The Fields of May by James B. Nicola
Igbo Directions in Amsterdam by Uche Ogbuji
High Jumping Silver by Gail Peck
the ground unfurls by Gabrielle Peterson
Two poems by Mike Puican
Byzantium at the Bus Stop; Byzantium at the Mall by Sarah Sadie
Romance by Askold Skalsky
Two poems by Bill Yake

Postcard prose

Before We Let the Hens Out by Emily Avery-Miller
Cheng Man Ch’ing by Douglas Penick

Travel notes

Life Jacket by Margaret McMullan
Hamam by Caroline Swicegood