Written in Arlington

During the month of April 2020, Arlington Poet Laureate Emerita Katherine E. Young is posting poems from the forthcoming anthology Written in Arlington, which showcases the poets and poems of Arlington, Virginia.


Green Card 
by Heather L. Davis


He works the front desks of apartment buildings, 
reading Harlequin Romances, anything in English 
to pull himself up. As he reads, he watches the ladies 
slip hips-first across the threshold with something 
beatific to extend him—a bare arm, a bite of bread.  
They can see he is a man between worlds, 
that every push of the button to buzz them in 
ushers his brothers that much closer across the sea. 
 
Back in his village, his mother tells stories no one 
else remembers to the laundry as she beats it. 
In his absence, her hands have turned into dark, 
flightless birds—too much sun, too many fields. 
She understands he will misplace the ancient 
names of their heroes. He will let them fall 
from his body at night like apples or dead skin. 
Tonight, he dreams of border guards and angry dogs, 
how much money he could make in a new town. 

Heather L. Davis likes writing at five a.m., strong coffee, and poetry in everyday places. She received a BA from Hollins University and an MA in Creative Writing from Syracuse University. Her book The Lost Tribe of Us won the Main Street Rag Poetry Book Award, and her poems are forthcoming in GargoyleNorthern Virginia Review, and Fledgling Rag. She lives in Washington, DC, with her husband, the poet Jose Padua, and their two children and works in Arlington.

Written in Arlington / Spoken in Arlington is a print and digital collection of the poets and poems of Arlington, VA, edited by Katherine E. Young and published by Paycock Press (forthcoming, fall 2020). It is supported in part by Arlington County through the Arlington Cultural Affairs division of Arlington Economic Development and the Arlington Commission for the Arts. For more information, visit Arlington Arts.

Image: After the Rain mixed media/collage on canvas by Anya Getter (fragment)

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