Gina Williams- July 8, 2021


New kid at school

says   he drifted to America

in a torn origami boat with
rice paper sails.

When he takes off his red rain
boots, waves pour out

and   tiny orange
fish flop around on the classroom floor.

The teacher can’t pronounce his name and shouts,
“That’s OK, we’ll call you Mike!”

Tessa says her daddy says Mike is a
boat people.

The next week,
he is           gone—

but the fish from Mike’s boots stay behind, swim
circles in the murky ocean on teacher’s desk.

Gina Williams is a freelance journalist, gardener, former wildland firefighter, and visual artist. The author of An Unwavering Horizon, a full-length collection of poetry published in 2020 (Finishing Line Press), her writing and visual art have been featured most recently by The Inflectionist Review, Moss, River Teeth, FRAMES Magazine, J. Mane Gallery, Electric Lit, Carve, and The Sun, among others. Gina lives and creates near Portland, Oregon with her best friend and fellow poet, husband Brad Garber. Learn more about Gina and her work at