May 2015 Poetry

May 14, 2015 |


for Terry Harvey



Wind slithers through oleander leaves like


schools of silver salmon ghosts, the iced relics of steelhead


fins, silver lining a rainbow trout’s cheeks.


Sky chills even hidden scars, and the voices of birds


are far away water trickling over a granite ledge.




Call out the colors of air, sweet,


filling the dusky lungs of a brother


in the last veteran’s hospice bed, air


for the lungs of women in Kabul who secretly perm


the hair of other women in their homes


while husbands cloister, click beads


and tongues at the backs of their tight throats, ignoring


the slight tilt of words said by wives


whose bodies are smothered


by centuries  of swaddling cloths,


by the slavery of veils.  Call sweet air.





Air for the premature baby across town


whose lungs are smaller than moth wings


struggling for flight in a neo-natal unit,  air


for the homeless man wandering


paved drives in our foothills community


still asleep.  Where am I, he wonders


as he staggers under a backpack


so grimy that Its history has no color


other than char.  Air


for the pit bull snoring


in a treeless barrio yard, chained


to a stake broiling in desert sun


while a teen dealer bags meth


in his mother’s bathroom.




Air for the kid whose hands close


on the first baseball of his life, for the proton


in the eye of the observer that changes


what a woman sees as love halfway


across the globe.  Air for all of us,


breathing sky’s


luminous unbiased mind,


the way quietly, it says goodbye.  Lives.



–Pam Uschuk

Pam Uschuk

Pam Uschuk is a human rights activist whose books include Crazy Love (American Book Award), Finding Peaches in the Desert (Tucson/Pima Literature Award) and Blood Flower. Editor-In-Chief of Cutthroat, A Journal of the Arts, Uschuk occasionally teaches poetry workshops for the University of Arizona Poetry Center.


Zócalo invites poets with Tucson connections to submit up to three original, previously unpublished (including online) poems, any style, 40 line limit per poem.  Our only criterion is excellence. No online submissions.  Simultaneous submissions ok if you notify ASAP of acceptance elsewhere. Please include the following contact information on each page of your manuscript: mailing address, phone number, and email address. All manuscripts must be typed and accompanied by a self-addressed, stamped envelope (SASE). Ms won’t be returned. Zócalo has first North American rights; author may re-publish with acknowledgment to Zócalo.  Payment is a one year subscription. Address submissions to Zócalo, Poetry, P.O. Box 1171, Tucson, AZ 85702.  The poetry editor is Jefferson Carter.


Category: Poetry