You want something solid.
The hanger in your dress puffing

up sleeves. Banner of radiation
or thieves, stopped by God,

the clicking on some machine,
A/C humming in a cramped room.

You were a girl once standing in the shadow of trees.
Your grandfather was a gun to a white man's head.

Wet leaves fell as birds scattered from the shot.
The man ran; grandpa said, “the second won't miss.&#mdash;

Pale on your back in the black lake at the start of summer.
Father counting bills and mother crying in the reeds.

That night father puts a sack over mother's head,
laughs when she hits the wall running.

The dog spins in play.
By the end of summer everyone burns.

About the Poet

Elizabeth J. Colen’s work has recently appeared in The Normal School, Exquisite Corpse, Packingtown Review, and other venues. Her first book of poems, Money for Sunsets was released this year. Flash fiction chapbook Dear Mother Monster, Dear Daughter Mistake will be published with Rose Metal Press in early 2011.