A swig of fresh lime squeezed over ice
San Francisco’s Junipero gin with a garnish
soothes the overwhelm of more bad news
and sudden heat

What I learned at home today:

           the length of estrangement becomes short
           in comparison to the weight of regret

          100 more days of solitude—a poet’s irony

          bare white walls wait with open-hearts
          to catch our sighs

          how much I miss my father now that he is dead.

Toss back tonic water with an extra kick
catch the sun warming the side of my face
through the glass door into the dining room

now a reflection
of how many years have passed

          how the idea of a father became a ghost

          how a ghost haunted me into adulthood

          how adulthood became a poem always in the works

          how poems became home

          how hard it is to live inside this one

Copyright © 2020 by Georgina Marie. This poem originally appeared in Dispatches from Quarantine: #11, June 2020. Used with permission of the author.

I woke to rapid flapping, the air cold
the time unknown. The dog’s paws tapping
on chill hardwood floor. Sudden
commotion. Jumping to corral what was
assumed to be an animal fight, I find
a California Towhee in my dining room.
Frantic, frightened. Brisk movement in her
wings making the room that much more frigid.
I stammer to her. Follow her room to room
as she attempts to fly her way out of walls
until she finally calms, allowing me to cup her
into my hands. We sit together outside
on a frosty concrete step. My bare feet
settling on top of wet fall leaves, gathering
the taste of morning in my mouth, the scent
of rain and dirt. She catches her breath.
My thumb softly wrapped around her chest
feeling her heart rate regulating, her eyes opening,
her fear receding. Leaves rustle, wind and traffic
move along while she and I watch each other
in a place where time moves slower than the rest
of the world. Her eyelids the color of peach
and terracotta. Her body the rusty hue of autumn.
Her eyes the same shade as mine, dark as loam.
I flatten my hand. She doesn’t move. We sit
together for what seems like hours. What seems
like fate when safety is reciprocated. Ten minutes
later she flies, stops on a dog-eared picket
and looks back. The dog quietly watches me.
How I love and let go all at once.

Copyright © Georgina Marie Guardado. Used with permission of the author.