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Saturday, December 30, 2017


by Alina Rios

Storm by Juliana Coutinho

Darkness dances
at the bottom of my tea cup,
darker than my Earl Grey amber—
a storm if you read the signs.

The Getty shuts its eyes to the fire-
and-smoke-breathing beast
awakened by Santa Anas.

A man on a bridge in Kentucky
takes his life to the chorus of #metoos
kept silent too long.

A madman at the wheel
of my adopted country’s beat-up bus
drives through hurricanes
and political theater, losing people,
as if the bus’s bottom were his hands,
child’s clumsy hands,
and we’re sand flowing through
into the anonymous
forever of the beach.

Nobody sleeps. Or
nobody sleeps well.
We wake in the night
from dreams of buildings falling,
weapon-wielding children, dead-ends.

The air is electric, Christmas cheer
not a match for it.
If you’re awake, you know. The crows know.
They gather murders over the Capitol.

My tea is cold and darker now.
I drink it up.

Alina Rios is an immigrant and a dreamer. She spent the first part of her life in St. Petersburg, Russia, and now lives in Seattle with her 9-year old son and a ghost-cat. Her poetry has appeared in CrossWinds Poetry Journal, Camroc Press Review, Rust and Moth, and other fine places. She is the Editor-in-Chief of Bracken Magazine.