Drawings of a Red-billed Pigeon

Sara Lupita Olivares

you can see only the shape of the red-billed pigeon                in the bathroom window, opaquenessa distance the yardrepeats. the moon sinks—its                persistence a syllable swellingthrough the day.a child draws worry as a river,                its stones neatly pressed to one side.when we take a photograph of the landscapewe find ghosts of trees in ways dimming                around themselves to createindentations of other selves.I come home and empty out someone else’s                drawers. the blurriness oftrees deepens, though the periphery remainspointed as if to highlight, interiority being                a complicated resolve. the red-billedpigeon halfway hatched from its eggits shell a root taken from                a landscape and turned upsidedown, our own want left tounplace its things within idled                forms. you can hear a singing still beforeopening—the self quietly separated from its own sound.

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Sara Lupita Olivares is the author of Migratory Sound (The University of Arkansas Press), which was selected as winner of the 2020 CantoMundo Poetry Prize, and the chapbook Field Things (dancing girl press). Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in The New York Times, Gulf Coast Magazine, Denver Quarterly, Salt Hill Journal, Quarterly West, and elsewhere. She currently lives in New Mexico where she is an assistant professor of English at New Mexico Highlands University.

"This is a rare, evocative, and haunting book. For its sparse song of indwelling in landscapes of austerity; for its understanding of description as a function subordinate to wakefulness of mind, for its process of perception that splits the difference between animal and oblivion, habit and habitat, doubt and debt—I found myself returning again and again to its atmospheric method of knowing; to its structure of restraint and elegance."
—Roberto Tejada, 2020 CantoMundo series judge and author of Still Nowhere in an Empty Vastness

"Migratory Sound offers a new generation the rarity (in the company of Celan, Juarroz, and Valentine) of a poetry voiced in full presence, low volume. Over and over, Olivares gives form to trusting that intelligence is inseparable from sensoralities. There’s a fearlessness here, humility before the mysteries, and great love."
—Kathleen Peirce, author of Vault

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