What We Gather

Taking nothing with you 

leaving nothing behind 

I find only your scent 


Floating   unbounded 

without your breath of spirit 

to hold its bouquet — 


it passes through me now 

while still it lingers 

Holding on     while letting go 


is never easy 

Holding on      while letting go 

is breathing out while breathing in 


is water slipping through fingers 

is loving with your eyes wide shut 

and your heart slit open 



cut down in their prime 

lose the earth 


only to return to it once more 

while women with parched lips 

still chant the names of rivers 


and other beds gone dry. 

Every day 

I gather at the river– 


                        river of tears 

                        river of refuse

                        river of dreams 

Every day 

I kneel in the banks of my memory 

making large withdrawals 

from smaller deposits 

of dwindling return 



the darkness flows within me 

and without me 


I will gather   and be gathered


Each experience

but yet another flower


for the vase


© 2019, Antonia Alexandra Kilmenko


ANTONIA ALEXANDRA KILMENKO is a former San Francisco Poetry Slam Champion and widely widely published. Her work has appeared in (among others) XXI Century World Literature (in which she represents France) and Maintenant : Journal of Contemporary Dada Writing and Art archived at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. and New York’s Museum of Modern Art. She is the recipient of two grants:  one from Poets in Need, of which Michael (100 Thousand Poets for Change) Rothenberg is a co-founder; the second—the 2018 Generosity Award bestowed on her by Kathleen Spivack and Josheph Murray for her outstanding service to international writers through SpokenWord Paris where she is Writer/ Poet in Residence.


I curate The Poet by Day, and am a freelance writer, poet, content editor, and blogger. The Poet by Day [jamiededes.com] is an info hub for writers meant to encourage good but lesser-known poets, women and minority poets, outsider artists, and artists just finding their voices in maturity. The Poet by Day is dedicated to supporting freedom of artistic expression and human rights. Email thepoetbyday@gmail.com for permissions, commissions, or assignments. I am also the founding editor of "The BeZine" and manage all associated activities. Email: bardogroup@gmail.com

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