Two Poems | Rhoni Blankenhorn

2 mins read

Gates Pass

At the moment of her death,
the cactus wren dive-bombs her own nest.
Feathers and twigs tangle
in white thorns.
Saguaros throw up their arms
unable to slow the sun.
Chollas turn lustless.
Sweating and cold along the switchbacks,
I brush a biting thing from my thigh,
one ant, more.
They become insistent,
my body their way home.
I feel one in my ear, say
to the red rock, I’m in the way
of the ants. Each bump and ridge
takes on new dimensions.
The bird becomes everything.
A star opens.
I like to imagine this place without us.

The End Of The Matter

I’m in a room touching tomatoes
as if they are amulets. This chilling urge
could be a lesson in humility.
Praise the space between buildings
and the gutter that was once a well.
To discourage shadow, I warm myself
against myself. My other name is
I hope you’re doing okay,
which I begin every email with.
Birds on a wire exchanging places.
Things traversing the city while I wait
for reverent thoughts.
I could stay in this room for years
thinking of all the things I put into my mouth
without looking, and the things I have yet to.
There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity.
Suddenly, the cat dies, and everyone is sad,
except the cat.

Rhoni Blankenhorn is a Filipina-American writer. Her work can be found or is forthcoming in NarrativeBeloit Poetry JournalRHINOHyperallergicPigeon Pages, and elsewhere. A Tin House Workshop alum, she has received support from Sewanee Writers’ Conference and The Center for Book Arts. She edits poetry at The Brazenhead Review.