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3 poems by Helen Vitoria

canary

Adam doesn’t leave the garden so he sends me.
I bring back a song or coal dust, cigarette butts
for nesting, something shiny for the magpies.
Most days I return slightly bruised, wings blackened.
Either way, I enter, willingly, blindly.

 

In my mother's Greek kitchen

My mother taught me to be afraid of everything.  She taught fear before she taught me to walk.
She yelled at my father because he stayed in treetops too long. He gathered birds. She called him desire on fire. My father taught me songs about freedom, eagles and our gods, who lived in a temple, on a mountain above our city.  We broke dishes when we danced, we felt good, we were happy. Pomegranates for luck, hung blue glass eyes on trees, we kept away evil. We were afraid.
I was born in the kitchen of our stone house, along with steel and wrought iron utensils.
Next to the spoons. In my mother’s kitchen something was always breaking, next to the spoons, next to the fire.


gun dog

There were trophies in the field: mallards rising, fine morning mist, soft light.
One that I caught, careful not to bite down hard, have the blood trickle in my throat. 
The occasional fattened grouse, doubtful pheasant, rewards unseen. I saved my teeth.
Careful not to bite down hard. His hands, violations of longing, trodden, flea bitten & blue.
When the field is a grave, the sound of a cocked pistol, a bullet grazing past my ear –
I become shy. I bite down hard.

 

 

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