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(The Northridge Review, Spring 2014)


I am the naked tree.


My bony, withered fingers

pluck birds

from the air.


I am refuge.


Unlike my sisters,

green and huge,

with endless nests

of squawking male-things

in their embraces—

emerging freely

from mounds

of soft earth,


unlike my sisters,

my feet

are planted—weighted

in concrete.

Published Poems by Laurisa White Reyes



(Camas: The Nature of the West, Winter 2013)


I remember

when, as children,

we climbed

to gather pinecones.

Cradled in our shirts

we carried them

and harvested

the smooth-shelled nuts

from between

the wooden laps.


Hands blackened

from the sap and soil,

held fast to the rough bark.

The same outstretched limbs

which held our weight

so confidently –

in winter bore the burden

of heaps of snow.

We’d tug

at the slightest bit of green

and tip our faces down

awaiting the avalanche to follow.


But it is the fragrance

I remember most,

the distinctive odor

of pine needles and wild flowers,

the scent of impending rain

carried along a crisp autumn wind,

and the bitter perfume of sap

that saturated our clothes and skin

long after the harvest was over.



(Welcome Home, Dec. 2003)


Hum of her machine.

The thit thit thit of needle

Jabbing at the cloth


While her daughter dreams

Of candy canes and satin

Bows, the mother sews.


Holding pins in teeth

Prick of finger, pinching seams

Foot pressing pedal


Daughter’s hair still lies

In the pattern where mother

Ran her fingers through


Yarn – hand-stitched – for hair

Two eyes, an embroidered smile

Blue calico dress


Underneath the tree –

More than buttons, more than thread

Gift of mother’s love.



(Writer's Journal, Vol. 23, No. 5 - September 2002)


Close-clipped grass

Cannot sing the wind

Cannot chant his name

Like Gregorian rhythms –

Pulsing water ripples.


My brother is buried here.


My steps circumvent

The faceless epitaphs.

My summons go unheard,

My voice

A stranger.


The trees drink my tears.

Do their roots embrace him?


I watch children play here

Unsuspecting, and I wonder –

Can the dead hear

The dull clink of shoes upon their names?


Etched in brass

Their names are whispered on the lips

Of strangers.

But here

There is no name on which to play,

For countless others to utter

Like any other name.


I breathe in solace –

Feel faint whispers

Beating rhythms in my brain.


My brother is buried here.


I sing the wind.


"for Brian Combs"


(Westwind Literary Magazine, Fall 2014)


You were moving to Ecuador for a job

and offered your belongings, curios a life collects


while living. But I had trinkets of my own

no one wanted. Then you drove to the gun club,


rented a pistol, and punched a peephole

through your skull. The parts of you


no one wanted—your thwarted dreams

and brittle fears—mopped up, discarded.


Later, those same possessions I rejected

(thread-bare Levi’s, books with broken spines,


tools with tags still on) were packed in boxes

and bequeathed to Goodwill, where strangers


picked through the remnants of you

like crows on road kill. And in the paper:


“A 39-year-old man”— where even your name

was omitted. These holes, then, clotted with regret


are all you left behind.




(riverSedge: A Journal of Art and Literature, 2015 - Volume 28)


Rain falls hard in Retalhuleu.

Corrugated tin roofs amplify

the rhythmic drumming of the rain.


The day’s heat tortures me,

the rack of God demanding confession.

In the distance, Pacaya bleeds.


In this fiery heat, I manage only

rudimental tasks: eat, drink, eliminate, sleep.

I have reversed human evolution


to when man was mere animal foraging for food.

Leaving myself behind, I pursue the rain

through los calles embarradas,


the verdant jungles, and mist-cloaked montañas.

The currents of El Rio Samalá

pulse—the artery of Santiaguito.


Here the rain soothes my open wounds,

quenches my unquenchable thirst.

So that is why I am here.


I am here for the rain.


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