Barbara Jane Reyes

Lullaby in SoMa for Paloma

rhapsodist of mission street she knows symphonies of human
skull to parking meter collisions where crystal meth boys in
go-go boots don’t know today from next week and bloodshot
men are an itch in her sock she tumbles down someplace hotel
stairs braids flying behind her turf tag blur hallways bounding
between galaxies following the rattle of amber vials’ pink pills
click shake swallow swig puka shell boys and dredlock brothas
roll phat blunts shadows behind telephone poles shiftshaping
into fire hydrants paloma bathes in streetcleaners’ antibacterial
rivulets scavenges cigarette butts from sidewalk crevices tucks
them beneath her wings for future reference mission street
rhapsodist she remembers mineral soaks could remove her
fishscales to make her resemble a woman dreaming of french
manicures spa soap lorca proselytizing lithium clouds dirges’
expiration dates buildings edged with scratch and fire escapes
she tumbles down someplace between this planet and the next
there is atmosphere to lighten her lungs to burst into flames
how many days will it take to walk to the sky she’s packed
provisions she doesn’t know how to count licorice root peyote
henna tobacco sack whiskey flask tea leaves for warpath ghosts
skeptics truck driving coyotes shards of strangers’ confessions
sound of fallen mango no inventory of color no measure of
objects’ worth a vulture’s talon some keepsake sister of
morning dew in languages of other times rot silk fishbones
city limits always receding and receding with sunset sweetness

Barbara Jane Reyes
Lullaby in SoMa for Paloma was first published in Nocturnes (Re)view Number 3.
Poem, copyright © 2005 by Barbara Jane Reyes
Appearing on From the Fishouse with permission
Audio file, copyright © 2005, From the Fishouse