The Poetry of Gillian Kessler

Updated: Mar 12, 2019


Calles and Vistas


I'm keeping this marine layer

haze, whirring lawn mowers,

men in white tees and jeans,

lamination of sweat and barbed wire.


I’m keeping the miles and miles you walked in

hot desert sun to shine like sea glass, tend swathes of grass, peach roses pruned,

bougainvillea lines stucco walls.


I’m keeping the jaunty polka

blaring from an old truck

beneath the rotting billboard,

long to intuit conversations

without straining to hear.

Hands on shoulders.

A dusty gold road,

maybe Panama.


We went there once.

The air was eucalyptic.


I’m keeping schema

starring tiny hummingbirds,

potted palms, windmills in rows and

rusted camellias

dying on dusty leaves.


A pool net can catch just about anything:

toy boats toppled, darkening avocadoes, maudlin notes,

what maybe was. The blow-up dolphin lies

beached on her side, gates locked tight. These manicured roads with their stolen names: Avenida Pico and Vista Hermosa,

Via del Rey and El Camino Real.

Calling them in from the sun


The river rising, an orange

dog runs through the makeshift

marsh after a young mallard --

I enter my body of wild

chives and white lilacs, taste

buds purified drums blown blue

with flax, sweet grass, forgiveness

that’s not accusatory, her

echo heavy in an upturned palm.