Elizabeth Colen


You stand under the eaves.
I’ll watch from the house,
pit dark in the pitch black,
my legs muddied from rain.

I have only what I brought in my pockets.
It is the square rock that soothes me.
The wonder of how the corners were hewed.

And when we depart, wings of the rest of us—
shared brown eyes blown clear green—
when we depart, sounds of the neighborhood
join sounds from our insides. Fear builds
a stomach symphony about fire in the desert.

Hands up.
And feet given up.
Hands up, shout louder in your language.
It doesn’t mean a thing.

Scowl means black wet.


Black wet confluence of history=small girl meets
block after block of Family Lives Lie and Calls it Hope.

There’s the torrent, then the ionized children we knew
we were, glowing in the underbrush, clutching at stars.

Scratching green letters onto pavement thick
with blown leaves.

Brother lover,
we remember.


A=candy cane. B=mud on the stairs. C=black leather suitcase.
The space where it was on the floor absent of dust.


Treetops look like mountain ridges, sway.
A harsh sound. Temblor, I say.

Tremble. The place where father lives
is governed by thieves. Where he left us.

He died/never left us.


Written into skyline. And this is how we happen.
Contrails melt, evaporate lights with weather.

Red risking the water,
turning the red into blue.

Elizabeth J. Colen’s first book of poetry, Money for Sunsets was released this year by Steel Toe Books. Her flash fiction chapbook Dear Mother Monster, Dear Daughter Mistake will be published in a collection with Rose Metal Press in early 2011. Find out more at elizabethjcolen.blogspot.com.

“The front porch is where I wait for you. Just until I hear the stutter of your truck’s engine pulling up the drive. Then I go inside so as not to seem too eager.”