Kim Dower




Kim Dower’s first collection of poetry, Air Kissing on Mars, (Red Hen Press, 2010) was on the Poetry Foundation’s Contemporary Best Sellers list, and was described by the Los Angeles Times as, “sensual and evocative . . . seamlessly combining humor and heartache.” Slice of Moon, her second collection, (Red Hen Press, 2013), was called, “unexpected and sublime,” by “O” magazine. Kim’s work has appeared in Garrison Keillor’s, “The Writer’s Almanac,” and Ted Kooser’s, “American Life in Poetry,” as well as in PloughsharesBarrow Street, and Eclipse. Kim teaches a workshop called, Poetry and Dreaming in the B.A. Program of Antioch University. Originally from New York City, Kim now lives in West Hollywood, California.



A Fly with One Wing is Watching Me


I remember this fly from long ago

when it had two wings. I was living

in Boston, tried to kill it so many hot

summer nights, terrorized me as I

tried to sleep, circling the chaos

in my head, knew him so well

I called him Jack, tried to make it

a fun thing, this fly intent on ruining

my life. Now he’s in L.A., languishing

on the soft chair across the room,

watching me work. I can see he’s less

a fly since he’s lost a wing, and I want

to know his anguish. Come here little fly,

I gently call to him, but flies are so

nervous they think we’re all trying

to kill them so they don’t wait to hear

what we have to say. I approach him

slowly, put my finger out, invite him

to hop on but he doesn’t move. Maybe

his one wing is too tired to lift, so I sit

next to him, remind him of his glory

days back when he could torment me

how much fun it must have been for him.

He doesn’t move. I consider flicking him

across the room or smashing him

right there, but why? It’s clear he came by

to see me, find out how I’m doing,

acknowledge the past when his buzz

was his life and he couldn’t resist

being the best fly he could be.



My Guardian


Lolita, Karen’s black and white spotted dog

slept in bed with me last night.

I’m a houseguest,

and Lolita, Lola for short, jumped high onto the bed


where she’s never allowed to be, covering the quilt,

that covered me in the dark Portland room.

I opened my eyes, there she was, her nose pointed


at mine and half awake I thought I was a dog, too,

part of her pack, her daughter or sister from another litter.

I hunched into a ball

so we could be the same shape, together


in our den, was honored that Lola chose to sleep next to me.

Karen’s other dogs, gorgeous Great Pyrenees, not herders

but guardians, were holed-up with Karen, while Lola, a mutt,

was looking out for me


as cool fall breezes shimmied

through the cracks of the window, leaves on the trees

turned orange through the night, as a trail of dusty


clouds obscured the traveling moon, we slept

our dreams spilling over

into the other


Lola entered a long room, humans dressed

in evening clothes, their tall backs against the wall, offering

her pearls and steak, while I was locked


inside a crate,

my paw stuck in the black wires, my tongue hanging out, hoping

for the sort of kindness an animal may find

only once in her life.




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