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Arlene Kim

   

Listen to Arlene Kim read "North Was Not the Way"
 

North Was Not the Way
  

The lead flyer suffered from anxiety,
nightmares. He kept dreaming
they were in a dream, flying north
when north was not the way.
He tried to dream them out of it
again. (This did not work.)

Every dawn, the ground
recovered from heartbreak,
the warm winds started.
But the flock was feeling uneasy.
This felt like starting back
from where they came. But there
was so much fear in turning back.
Which direction foretold promise,
silks, a fat enough herd?
North was not the way. And back
was also not the way.

Every afternoon, he turned them around,
but they kept formation, each face
closed like a beehive, industrious.
The current welling.
It was a mistake. The dream
of migration, unclear.

  

   

Among Monarchs
  

In the forest, the fur of Monarchs covers every tree. This is how curses happen (or, miracles): of a sudden, unexplained. Entire populations die during an unlucky migration. The children wander. Dried-out wings blanket the ground like leaf-covering, woven into them the story of some land. Flightless, they are just paper dolls. When the wind picks up, the dead drift by on the current. Their wings, brittle; they snap as the children submerge themselves in the endless archives. So pretty, the veined things: probosces coiled fat, frozen antennae, thickets of needles. The children prick their fingers on history, fall asleep to the murmuring of multitudes. It’s getting dark. Through the night, the bodies fall in turn. Beneath the masses, it’s dry, warm. The children bury themselves, like climbing into the sun at night. Embalmed, they plot escape, pocket handfuls of tigery gold. It was a way back once before.

  

Listen to Arlene Kim introduce and read "Among Monarchs"
 

  

    

Arlene Kim was chosen as one of Poets & Writers' 2012 debut poets for her collection What have you done to our ears to make us hear echoes? (Milkweed Editions). She lives in Seattle where she reads for the DMQ Review and writes poems, prose, and bits in between.
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