Kim Dower







Dying Languages


One language is lost

every two weeks. Researchers travel the world

to interview the last speakers.


Quiet, you can hear what they say:

“She left the parrot in the car,”

“Cut off his leg to make it stop trembling,”


“Keep me safe from myself.”

What kinds of languages get lost?

Not ones we speak in Los Angeles


New York or Miami.

A language from a place so hot and humid

words can no longer form in people’s mouths.


A language so cruel that people have to cover their ears

so as to not be contaminated.

A language so silly each time a phrase is uttered


people in the streets die laughing.

Now and again men, women, children, goats

faint after overhearing the stupidest thought.


One language will never be lost:

the language of poets struggling to understand

why we die with one word on our lips.



from Air Kissing on Mars

Published by Red Hen Press 2013




I wore this dress today for you, mom,


breezy floral, dancing with color

soft, silky, flows as I walk.

Easter Sunday and you always liked


to get dressed, go for brunch, “maybe

there’s a good movie playing somewhere?”

Wrong religion, we were not church-goers,


but New Yorkers who understood the value

of a parade down 5th Avenue, bonnets

in lavender, powder blues, pinks, hues


of spring, the hope it would bring.

We had no religion but we did have

noodle kugel, grandparents, dads


who could fix fans, reach the china

on the top shelf, carve the turkey.

That time has passed. You were the last


to go, mom, and I still feel bad I never

got dressed up for you like you wanted me to.

I had things, things to do.  But today in L.A.


hot the way you liked it — those little birds

you loved to see flitting from tree to tree —

just saw one, a twig in it’s mouth, preparing


a bed for its baby —  might still be an egg,

I wish you were here.  I’ve got a closet filled

with dresses I need to show you.



from Last Train to the Missing Planet

published by Red Hen Press, 2016






She solves puzzles all day

thirteen across: four letter word

for dying;  one down:

phrase for love without limits

she wracks her brain

squeezes her eyes tight

she can taste the right word, ripe

ready to drop into her consciousness

under the table a bedazzled

dog rests his head on her naked toes

she’d wear slippers if she could find

the right pair –  comfortable, not too soft

Ah!  eleven across: “diced dish”

this has got to be “hash,” she thinks

but it’s one letter short:

the final insult

to another unsolved day



Sunbathing on Tyrone Power’s Grave

Red Hen Press, Spring, 2019












Kim (Freilich) Dower, originally from New York City, received a BFA in Creative Writing from Emerson College, where she also taught creative writing. She has published three collections of poetry, all from Red Hen Press: Air Kissing on Mars, (2010) which was on the Poetry Foundation’s Contemporary Best Sellers list and described by the Los Angeles Times as, “sensual and evocative seamlessly combining humor and heartache,” Slice of Moon, (2013) nominated for a Pushcart, and called, “unexpected and sublime,” by “O” magazine, and Last Train to the Missing Planet, (2016), “full of worldly, humorous insights into life as it is,” says Janet Fitch. Kim’s work has been featured in Garrison Keillor’s « The Writer’s Almanac, » and Ted Kooser’s “American Life in Poetry,” as well as in Ploughshares, Barrow Street, Rattle and Eclipse. Her poems are included in several anthologies, including, Wide Awake: Poets of Los Angeles and Beyond, (Beyond Baroque Books/Pacific Coast Poetry Series, 2015) and Coiled Serpent: Poets Arising from the Cultural Quakes & Shifts of Los Angeles, (Tia Chucha Press. She teaches Poetry and Dreaming in the B.A. Program of Antioch University.  Kim is City Poet Laureate of West Hollywood, and will hold this position through October, 2018.

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