Month: May 2014

“Pale Blue Eyes”

“Pale Blue Eyes”

 The sun rose above Mount San Jacinto, east of Lake Elsinore. Fog drifted across the cold water and Sarah sat shotgun in the red mini-van while two boys sat in the back, including her boyfriend, Brendan. I was unsure about this love affair because they 



The sky is the bright orange of midnight, and it hangs like salted dew on my tongue. I inhale the filthy perfume with a gasp in, a rattle out, and Mom says not to huff the ozone but it fills me with greedy thoughts of 

“Sea Song”

“Sea Song”

I’d sing you a better lullaby, babygirl, if these chipped walls

cradled soft notes right. They sag and give, the way

Mama’s voice does when she tries to sing the doxology.


Church never held no cradle for me, but you know how

She grew up in choir robes and hymnal dust.

Sunday afternoons, Papa’d sigh over to the piano bench and

Drop his fingers into the slots for middle C. I used to believe

Gershwin was a snake-charmer, and when he and her soared

I swear no serpent could have held out


The first time I saw your daddy in Blues I laughed.

Couldn’t help it, wouldn’t help him – that cap sheared off

Whatever the barracks barber hadn’t. Babygirl, if a man

Don’t sing, don’t follow. His boots snapped over streets in

Okinawa, France, some burgh in Germany, but his socks

Don’t got time to lose their pairs in our hamper.


You know the beaches here hiss different. Funny how

Grey mornings make the sound of water

Sneaking into the cracks between crushed up rocks and shells

Important. Girl of mine, we’ll find you a song that clings to

Salty fog and slabs of ocean. Maybe he’ll hear it.


Alexandra Villamore is an undergraduate student at UC Riverside.

“Devin with Chips”

“Devin with Chips”

“To an Aokigahara Native (after Wislava Szymborska)”

“To an Aokigahara Native (after Wislava Szymborska)”

Is it lonely up here, mountain ghost? Perhaps the beauty makes up for it alone. Perfect symmetry, an ocean of green beneath the white powder snow. It’s famous up here, a painting off the coast of Kanagawa serving to show how beautiful loneliness can be. 

“Long Distance”

“Long Distance”

I get his text in the middle of the day between ignoring looming paper deadlines and watching my best friend rant. It’s the first sign of life from him in over a month and the messages reads a simple “Sup.” S—soft and hissing, ice creaking 

“The Silo”

“The Silo”

Silo number nine looked like the Tin Man’s head, bearded with the shed that bristles

Management Only

The fog clung to the roof like a laurel, wreathed with six dollars more the next Friday.

Walking down the corn was a grown man’s job, and

Your brother’s thin ribs could use the padding. Yours too,

If you were careless enough to look down.


Hunched beneath the corrugated roof, nostrils stuffed up with the

Sweet stickiness of rotting corn crisped into milky sours,

You and your brother tossed picks by their worn handles into the sleeping mounds

Pitching them back to each other like boomerangs.


Grain shuddered, the silo groaned

The crusted patches beneath your feet

Ripped. Dropped you.

Shackled you to the triangled gridlock.

Your screams bounced off the sides of the silo

Gulped back by mechanical shushings of grain

Funneling into truck beds.


They didn’t tell you there were harnesses in the storage shed.

They didn’t tell you a body can drown in a solid.

They didn’t tell you how fast the mountain would swallow him.


You had to hug your brother’s body, or the rescue squad couldn’t jam

The grain tube around your shoulders. Couldn’t haul you out.

Six hours, and all you wanted was them to

Shove the plastic bucket over your head again so you couldn’t see

The pits in his face from kernels biting.


You’d think five hundred fifty thousand

Would be enough to pay for a headstone.

Hell, you’d think the two hundred grand would be enough for something

Better than those cockeyed red flowers you jabbed into his grave. Damn things

Flutter too much, thrash like his hand above the grain line.

He never got to make varsity.


At home your mother drags her fingers through popcorn kernels,

Listens to their dry rustle as they slip against each other.

Those men with soft hands tell you Haasbaech is closing,

Tell you that they’re educating workers, increasing safety awareness, and that they

Have mailed very strong letters.

Your mother’s room is littered with picket signs and sleeping pills.

You went to work the next week anyway.


Alexandra Villamore is an undergraduate at UC Riverside.



Missing you is easy when The rim of my red plastic bowl Chips gawkish fractures into the egg in my palm. Maybe I miss the porcelain bowls you picked out when I was seven. Maybe Inland Empire Eggshells just crumple easier into my bowl-bound Flour