“Birthday” and other poems by Kimberly Reyes


Drink Before the War

The bells of St. Fin Barre, off again
Five faint chimes and warring finches

2:41am birdsongs sculpt slim air
Rollers, tits, a fidgeting pigeon

Crashes on a glass ceiling
Neck feathers bobbing, weaving warning:

No one with roots doubled under
Can survive these days

I tried             I’ve travelled             I’m tired

Maybe lyrebird or starling
(Define invasive species?)

Can’t tell if it’s a crow or my stomach
God protect me her sensual coo


We are all drowned out

If you respect the dead
and recall where they died
by this time tomorrow
there will be nowhere to walk

—Katie Ford

I believe in ghosts
Pray for hauntings

On the road from my grandmother’s grave
Clipping through terrified reforests

Kinderschrecks and pelting rain
Salt and fog through the veil, ether

Eleven speeding hours on I-95
I, alone, wondered

Which lands aren’t haunted?
South Carolina is hailing blood

Whole orphaned babies
Where are the living?

Five Points               290 Broadway            Seneca Falls

New York second only to
Charleston, children sold

At wet markets
Screaming on the block

I hear there’s a crying blue
Baby in Cobh

But can no longer
Hear near the sea


Crane Lane, Last Call

Know which parts of you
he wants
what will be thrust

an open mouth
a gin’t tobacco

tart lust
a lichening
a scratched reel of this moment

and all the others you wanted—
a bold flash,
discreet smolder.



“I was lonely for a while for this evening
listening to the crows caw as they returned home.”
—Bobby Sands

The hue of 5am before June
upside down on sleep
gravity claws
at 43 years
in thin lashes between
day and honesty              
an expiry

a Christmas Cake
you’re called
across the water         
out of date

it’s funny how we knead
each other
for future and holiday.

What if, let’s say,
hunger was all for nothing
deaf laughter
what if
this is it and all we get
under the tree.


Crane Lane, Last Call & other poems © Kimberly Reyes


KIMBERLY REYES_248BW_FKimberly Reyes is an award-winning poet and essayist and the author of three books: Warning Coloration (dancing girl press 2018), Life During Wartime (Fourteen Hills, 2018), and Running to Stand Still (Omnidawn, 2019). Kimberly currently lives in Cork, Ireland as a Fulbright fellow studying Irish literature and film.