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Live Encounters Poetry & Writing January 2023
Doves in The Botanical Gardens, poems by Alicia Viguer-Espert.
Doves in The Botanical Gardens
I hear doves cooing
above my window, loud, rhythmic,
like in those days when they called
for mates in the Botanical Gardens,
the sun already bright behind birch
trees reflected on the square pond,
your hand resting on my shoulder
as we sat on the wooden bench.
We walked among perennials,
roses, citric orchards, sequoias,
the cooing followed us through
narrow dusty paths, beds of herbs.
We identified the medicinal ones,
Valeriana and Salvia Officinalis,
Macromeria Fruticosa, Rosmarinus.
Some mimicked poisonous threads
of disposition lodged in our DNA,
you, Nerium Oleander, we called adelfas,
I, Rhus Toxicodendrum, poison ivy.
We knew to touch or being touched
by these venomous plants will cost us
painful blisters but we couldn’t stop
from exploring, and our hands danced
repeatedly to the doves crescendo
until we made each other sick.
Suspicion on a Sea Voyage
I gathered tidbits of my past life and saved them like treasures. That night in
the plaza stars pinned to their vault shone, invisible birds sang untimely moving
between branches and I, the girl with a ponytail and big eyes, watched strange shadows cross by the silent fountain, listened to midnight music exit an open
window, before I saw. Those memories carved the shape of my heart; my ears,
so attuned to mystery, still hear the bells ringing in the morning, the town’s
people surprised talking among themselves about the size of the bull.
Days later, I searched for my mittens, the color of blood and snow, a headless
doll by the sill, earmarked books stained with wine, treasures I hid in a wooden
box carried inside my suitcase all the way to California. I also brought sheets and
towels in a metal container which arrived a month later in a damaged package, printed labels with our two names in gold still visible.
I never learned what happened before our departure, who was killed, what the
bull represented, whose blood spilled that night. What I know, because you told
me, didn’t match the evening news, sounded wrong, untrue. I didn’t run away,
nor I believe Sento fought with Pau for my attention. Your version brings the
scriptwriter of your soap operas to mind, and also, it scares me. Now that we
are alone, I search your hands for stains afraid of what I may find, your eyes,
I don’t dare, but I’m sure of what I saw that night. I think.
couldn’t lift shadows
© Alicia Viguer-Espert
Alicia Viguer-Espert, born and raised in the Mediterranean city of Valencia, Spain, lives in Los Angeles. She learned English as an adult, began writing in English in 2017 and that same year won The San Gabriel Valley Poetry Festival Book Contest. She has been a featured poet at numerous venues within the greater LA. Her work has been published in Colorado Boulevard, Lummox Anthologies, Altadena Poetry Review, ZZyZx Intersections, Panoplyzine, Rhyvers, River Paw Press, Agape Review, Soul-Lit, Dryland, Amethyst Review, Odyseey.pm, Solum Journal, and Spectrum Publications, among others. Her chapbooks To Hold a Hummingbird, Out of the Blue Womb of the Sea and 4 in 1, focus on nature, identity, language, home, and soul. In addition to national and international publications, she is included in “Top 39 L.A. Poets of 2017,” one of “Ten Poets to Watch on 2018,” by Spectrum. Alicia is a three times Pushcart nominee.