José García Villa
First, a poem must be magical,
Then musical as a sea gull.
It must be a brightness moving
And hold secret a bird’s flowering.
It must be slender as a bell,
And it must hold fire as well.
It must have the wisdom of bows,
And it must kneel as a rose.
It must be able to hear
The luminance of dove and deer.
It must be able to hide
What it seeks like a bride.
And over all, I would like to hover
God, smiling from the poem’s cover.
The Dangers of This Craft
Fatima V. Lim Wilson
How we sing, even as we are boiled alive.
Those who torment us strain to sustain
Our last notes. In a landscape
Of sameness, our crooked towers scrape
Sensibilities, the well-trained eye.
Why when starved, do we thrive?
Remembrance of childhood’s bread
Rising. The taste of dulcified
Droppings of air. Our well-
Meaning friends beg us, please,
Speak in the measured tones
Of the mediocre. Show off
Our mastery of muteness,
The ambidextrous virtuosity
Of work-stained hands. Let
Those knitting needles, heavy
Handled axes fly. Why must
We hear voices? See the moving
Parts of still objects? And so,
We insist we no longer see
Through whitewashed walls.
We confess our dreams of flying
Have ceased. We scheme,
The miracle of money keeping us
Awake. Our pleasure lies
In memorizing the exactness
Of recipes. We are found to be
Most eloquent when quiet, even
As we argue happily with the teeming
Inhabitants opening doors in our heads.
We stare seemingly unmoved at the fire
Of our burning books, all the while
Enthralled, reading secrets in the flames.
They think they’ve killed us off
Even as somewhere, everywhere, a child
Recalls the beat of the ocean womb.
They dance upon our tombs, unaware
Of how they have fallen
Victim to the rhythm
Of our singing bones.