Three Poems by Kimberly Burwick

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Like Slate Beneath Virgin’s Bower

In rain we miss the shadblow
and sumac, wide hemlock damask and
warped in its own silver balding,
the way babies of Franco’s nuns
must have not died in their swaddle
cloths in the Spanish enclave of Melilla
in Morocco where infants were harvested
like cork oak, or slate beneath virgin’s bower.
Like any mother I wait in the green,
slaked by nothing but the visible architecture
of distant November, sounds from the throat
that are holy, tiny granite lips returning.




With our lips, with a clearer custody of
our eyes, I say we end the long sentence
here with the daffodil on the stone
joints of newborns. The blue details
of perfection are but plain camp robbers
come forth for mixed seed. Both in fable
and fact there is a rock in every landscape.
This is a common, common field.
I am only the sackcloth of a mother.



A Way of Making April

Wet dawn. Loose, self-portrait
wind. Snowmen with mosquitos
and carrots. Trying for a custody of
the eyes and failing. I’ve chased green
stars around Spanish clinics,
green thunderclouds into the whole
absorption of bitters. This is an apology
in the middle of a field of soaking barley.
Umbrage of nuns and nurses
in the dove-caught arches of April.
If it has taken me this long to find
the newborns’ flexed tendons,
if a condition of the heart is weighted
descent, I am sorry. We are abandoned
even if we remember the blackbirds.




Kimberly Burwick was born and raised in Massachusetts. Burwick earned her BA in literature from the University of Wisconsin, Madison and her MFA in poetry from Antioch University Los Angeles. She is the author of four collections of poetry: Has No Kinsmen (Red Hen Press, 2006), Horses in the Cathedral, winner of the Robert Dana Prize (Anhinga Press, 2011), Good Night Brother, winner of the Burnside Review Prize (Burnside Review Press, 2014), and Custody of the Eyes (forthcoming from Carnegie Mellon University Press). She is currently Clinical Assistant Professor of Creative Writing at Washington State University.

Photo of forest clearing in rain courtesy Pixabay. is the world’s first online journal of place, publishing a rich mix of literature, art, commentary, and design since 1998.