Spotlight: Two Poems

Richard Garcia


Doll heads are washing up on the beach.
They are bald, the bald heads of little babies
neatly severed from their torsos.

Did you, as a child, ever light a doll on fire?
Back in those days, dolls would burst into flame,
practically explode. There was a fuse-like

searing sound, and a smell, do you
remember the smell? Burning manikins
smell that way too, like glass burning.

Doll heads are discovered in trees.
No one was seen placing them in the branches.

Doll heads can be found under pillows
and inside of small boxes. It has been surmised
that a person's head remains conscious

for one minute after decapitation.
I don't know, you'd have to ask the head.
If it is conscious, can it speak?

Insurgents have been beheading our people.
Barbaric you say? Yes, I suppose so,
a kind of low-budget shock and awe.

A bomb crashes in on a restaurant.
Oops, our target was not there tonight.

The customers stand and dust off their clothes.
Some of the food is still edible.
Now the restaurant is outdoors.

Doll heads are drifting in with the tide.
Their little pates bobbing in the waves,
rolling a bit, coming to rest, some sideways

on one cheek, some face down, a few,
the lucky ones, looking up at the clouds.


I washed my veins
and hung them out to dry.
My neighbors complained
called me trailer-trash
no one uses a clothesline anymore.

I placed one stone on top of another stone.
It was not a black stone on a white stone
or a white stone on a black stone
and I did not know if it was raining.

I wanted to mark a path
I could not return on.

I vowed not to move until you came my way again.

Then I remembered that you were last seen
riding a black horse across a crater of the moon.
It was a small crater with a common first name.
Thomas I think, or just Tom.

For the next several years I followed a stone
I dropped into a well.
I was the well.
I became the stone.

Now my hands are all that is left of me.
I don't really need the rest.

Except for my eyes. They tell me
they can see right through my hands.

Richard Garcia

Richard Garcia is the author of The Persistence of Objects, BOA Editions. His poems have recently appeared in The Georgia Review, Crazyhorse and Ploughshares. He is the recipient of a Pushcart prize, and has a poem in Best American Poetry 2005.