It was now when it happened

Editorial Note: This poem twins a Māori legend of the pīwakawaka (New Zealand fantail) with an Irish myth concerning Diarmuid (son of Donn), and his half-brother (son of Roc) who was transformed into the Great Boar of Ben Bulben. The title and first two opening lines are quoted from Joy Harjo’s poem “For Alva Benson, And For Those Who Have Learned to Speak.”

7th North Street

Glowing cross red neon perched
like a robin on the church roof vaulted
made of stone thick tresses of ivy

spill from it afternoon light scatters broken
images of the Virgin …



My dad’s letter sways the mailbox slant.
    His name, reduced to a number, weighs
heavy, loosens the red plastic flag
    from its hinge.

Prison is a war …

Washing My Mother’s Hair



My mother’s nightly ritual: sitting 

on the floor in front of the hallway 

mirror, a wet comb, the right 

amount of hair. She ropes 

a plastic pink curler 

A headshot of Christine Kitano.

August Poetry Curator Christine Kitano

In an Alternate Universe, I’d Want to Be a Professional Ballerina

Christine Kitano teaches at Stony Brook University and in the MFA Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College. She is the author of the poetry collections Birds of Paradise and …

The Neighborhood


The wind grows furious as the grounds
around my house sicken. My neighbor’s
been pointing at a tree bordering our
properties with a gash down its trunk.
All I …