HEIRLOOM and 1984


As her belly swelled, she heard an opera
the waves crashed against the rocks
in fury, the aria of war.

Perhaps, the geometry of her life unraveled:
love, pain, shame, the chronicle of blood lines,
her clan lived in the same house for six generations.
One son moved from the North Sea to the Pacific,
another lost his life on an oil rig in Aberdeen,
secrets barely audible.

Perhaps, the deep blue
unfurled its long tongue
flicked it on the rocks,
smacking lips, the snack of a snake.
How unencumbered
he was to take what he wanted
from her small frame.

History is an outstretched limb
hungry for expansion,
breathe into the tightness
and feel your body open,
a softening, inside and out.

When the sun no longer dazzles,
we become elemental:
breath of wonder, pens of quartz,
wet briny sapphire.




The smash of glass on the guardrail,
phone call in the wee hours
my Mother, hurried us into the car

His face, pummeled by force
crusted blood in nostrils
black eyed, my Father was in that body

Swollen, he looked so small
in the outsized bed. A purple monster
to my nine-year-old eyes

Her face wet with worry,
in the sanitary fluorescence. The nurse
held my hand and baby brother on her hip

She led us to her office, where I drew
and looked at the big Eucalyptus tree in the parking lot
What kindness she gave, meanwhile,
Mom digested fear and anger

See my slippers? They are kitty cats!
The nurse smiled at my pink face
My niece is your age, do you like stickers?

I watched my Mother’s face all the way home,
poised to poke her awake



Ingrid Keir is a poet, performer and educator. She is co-founder of the WordParty, a long- running San Francisco poetry and jazz series. She has been a featured reader at diverse venues in the Bay Area including the DeYoung Museum, The Beat Museum, City Hall, Quiet Lightning as well as many others. Ingrid has lectured Creative Writing at San Francisco State University where she taught undergraduate poetry, fiction and playwriting while simultaneously engaging students with writers of the Bay Area. She also received both her M.F.A and B.A. degrees at San Francisco State University. She has written several chapbooks: The Secrets of Like (2004), Toward the Light (2007) and recently released a new book of poetry in September 2016, The Choreography of Nests, published by Feather Press. Ingrid has been published in many literary journals including: Two Hawks Quarterly, The Haight Ashbury Literary Journal, Sparkle and Blink and Out of Our. She was also shortlisted in the 2016 Litquake poetry contest.

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