Image: Kubbess Taner / found on Deviant Art 

Imagine rising up
the center of a tree.
Spin slowly as you do
so you see all the grace.
Stop momentarily halfway up
where the first branch
reaches out or up or down.
Think what patience it must
take to hold this position.
No wonder bark is to tough—
to keep the tree from weeping.

Kathleen Kimball-Baker
January 2017


Starlight daughter

Image found on Pinterest

for Laura, on her birthday

Across an ocean, a dry continent, and a desert
her father chose from a gleaming bundle
one simple chain

He had been away a fortnight and upon his return
he placed it on her mother’s neck and they whispered
words that reached far into the stars

The traveling words searched the darkness
for an unborn fire daring enough to be delivered
into clumsy human hands on a world pressed
in gravity and sorrows

The words were so quiet against the hum
of the cosmos, she needed the finest ears
to hear the invitation . . .

When she opened her eyes
she squinted against
the bright lights
squirmed in the swaddling

Softly, she considered
the faces of the mother and father
the hosting of earthly love
with all its wonders and edges
its beating heart in fragile bones
its thirst and hunger
its insistence on burning air

Again she said yes

And that is how the starlight daughter came
to be called “One sent from time to teach us.”

Kathleen Kimball-Baker
January 15, 2017

Starlight daughter


Image: “Kiss in the Dark” by Leanne Crowe

Elsewhere, a mother opens her gown
to her newborn, loosens the milky warmth

Elsewhere, bare branches scrape
across a window screen

Elsewhere twigs bend beneath hooves
of a doe searching the evening for food

Elsewhere, a loon follows its
hollow song across a dark lake

Elsewhere, a door opens
then shuts away November chill

Elsewhere, a boy cries out
from a spot grown too dark

But here, warm scent of bread and moonlit
hands reach for me on a serving of cool sheets

Kathleen Kimball-Baker
January, 2017


Las Animas

Image found on Pinterest

“A dream hangs over the whole region,
a brooding kind of hallucination.”

— John Steinbeck
The Log from the Sea of Cortez


Without sound, we speak:

— Tonight, we’ll be eating you, you know?
—  Yes. Tired

I kneel on the sand, stroke his strange
skin. Where I touch: luminous prints
of my hands. Sequins of words flicker,
a ship’s wake under starlit skies

— Will you bless this eating?

The muscle of his body swells, fills
with the desert’s abiding breath;
he holds himself round and taut,
as if unsure what comes next.

In time, he exhales and flattens.
We speak once again.

— Thank you.
We gnow


Around me on the beach
a crowd of women gathers,
tipping their heads into an arch
above us. Someone breaks
the long silence:

— I think he’s gone, honey.


The only sound: waves.
The only sight: cool gray
body beneath my palms.
The only feel: a slow
recessional of tides.

The guide, a man of war, pulls
the squid into the sparkling surf,
and with his machete, he slices
away long flowing limbs, holds
up the predatory beak: a trophy


That night the village women
serve our meal. I say
grace. We eat


A meal, properly prepared.

K a t h l e e n  K i m b a l l – B a k e r
December 2016

Las Animas


Image from

Because he is so pale
I can see him in the early
morning dark. He rises
from the warm straw nest
of his house, shakes
debris from his fur, and
stands, still drowsy.
The moon has kept us
restless all night. Now,
she lowers herself down
the curve of the prairie sky,
hovers, round and radiant,
on a thin line of land.
Qimmiq glows blue.
He sits, facing west,
tilts back his head,
and croons a solo—
tender notes that lift
and fall, tumble and ache,
as if beseeching a wanton
goddess. Soon the other
sled dogs join the chorus.

But Qimmiq—
white creature of the cold
north, must be her favored
one: She has rimmed his eyes
in kohl, left them round and wide,
like dark full moons.

K a t h l e e n   K i m b a l l – B a k e r
N o v e m b e r   2 0 1 6


Foreign Object

Image: by Daniel Barkley

I hitchhike on an eddy: breath;
unaware, you inhale me.

Down the bellows of your
core, I follow the blue flume

of your fast pulse – lung, heart,
arteries, vessels, capillaries –

till you respire me. I survey
ruddy paths on your face, roll

across the pinkness, then ride
the surf of your full mouth.

From there, I ascend steep
bone cliffs of your cheeks.

I linger here; I study the hue
and marrow of your stubble,

taste its colors: part ginger
from autumn, part sleet.

I climb others, gripping bristle
upon bristle, swinging myself

up to the curve of your eye.
I crest your lashes, recline

my back into their shallow
feather bowl and ride up

and down, humming to myself,
seeing what you see: all the

painful beauty, the refuge
of bells, the suture of wounds.

K a t h l e e n   K i m b a l l – B a k e r
O c t o b e r   2 0 1 6

Foreign Object


Image: Ohara Koson, 1930

We turned the same age
one summer,
the cicadas and me.

They groped in the trees
clattering out of their
shells, concussing the
air at dusk and dawn,

which was all they had.

Sweet nothings could not
be heard during the ruckus,
but into their silent
interludes, our exploration
of lips, salty necks, and more

slipped from shade and
shadow to cramped cars,
each new touch exploding

for what could seem a brief
moment, like an atom split
to smithereens, or a day and
a night, like the lifecycle
of a 24-hour moan.

K a t h l e e n   K i m b a l l  –  B a k e r
S e p t e m b e r ,   2 0 1 6