Dawn Barcelona πŸ”ˆ

New Jersey

At first, I thought the past was leaping out to haunt me
deep in the back pockets of my journals and sewing kits.

I heard it first - a murmuring stream growing into the Atlantic
Ocean, the shrill wind shaking billboards and powerlines.

Behind me, I felt it, the breath of October fog edging
up against my spine, undoing my hair, my repeated shivers.

Though the things I remember might not have happened,
like the evacuation, the Raritan River bridge underwater

the hydroplaning cars flooding the parkway.
Lights, and then no lights.

When I woke up, I traced your face
in the reflection of Lake Lenape.

We sat there and I scrolled through the census the year before
only 2,135 neighbors around us. You must have known

I was always bound to end up in a big city, not far from the water
and the voice I save on my answering machine actually

sounds relenting now, as if all the malice I expect when I open
that honey jar in that shoebox you covered with lines from my favorite poems

wasn’t the only thing that was left there all those years ago.

Author Reading

About the Author

Originally from New Jersey, Dawn Angelicca Barcelona is a Filipina-American poet based in San Francisco. She was a U.S. Department of State Fulbright Grantee to South Korea in 2014. Her work can be seen in Quiet Lightning, Killing the Angel, Fulbright Korea Infusion, work to a calm, and In Between Hangovers. She volunteers with the National Alliance on Mental Illness and curated the music and performing arts showcases for Kearny Street Workshop’s annual APAture Festival in 2021.