9 | joa suorez



Night, wide-brimmed,
settles wild wanderings
in our early
American hearts, fatigue
live chains
loathe to lift themselves
yet imperceptibly intertwined
in our legs again. Let’s lie down
by the stream (she knows
she’s older than her name)

and sink in. The poems
we speak in sleep,
thick with reeds and wet
with recent rains, may camouflage
our foreign origins. The moon,
she is a soft lens.


moor your ragged houseboat to the bank


Little finger
of a moat
protect one side of this city
from another, neither better
for this strip of bay water.

One freeway
to tuck
under the other:
mother daughter,
shy toddler
of an on-ramp.

A lap of wet clothes
and a bottle,
a tramp and a backpack gang
tagging the insides
of factories.

They leave they’ll leave eventually.

Silt, settling
in your belly,
melting trench songs
men sang
in the days of industry
will fill you up, give herons
a place to step, drink
fish, and all of this,
these sad last
signs of settlement
will muddy-up.


joa suorez lives and works in the San Francisco Bay Area. She studied poetry at the University of California, Santa Barbara, in the College of Creative Studies, and at St. Mary’s College of California, in the MFA Program in Creative Writing. Her poetry has appeared in Spectrum, Into the Teeth of the Wind, and on Ill Seen, Ill Said. Works in progress can be read on The Weekly Commuter.