Kane County, Illinois
How the limestone of last words
came down. As though rock
after rock of dinner and birth
was enough. As though its cracks
ran red with pressed blush, as though
the shale of her never rested.
The fat list of the will
came instead, and next the gift
of a short burial. How the cash
came after, a compass for deep pockets
stacked in the hard case of the law,
a waste of brittle hair and cool skin.
All of it worse than the burned ash
of her body, sticky on the final scatter.
I am first a sister. I am last
the hot thumb and finger of spent bills.
She raised me to be a dirt road and taught me
to bare my family teeth. So find me at the edge
of the path chewed to flesh and little girl.
Find me hunched and folded
between rows of shorn beans, both knees
flush to wild grass, each cent split
for the boys. How the sum of a whole life
is still too little to link us.
Amy Elisabeth Smith studies poetry in the MFA program at Northern Michigan University. Most recently, her work has appeared in or is forthcoming from Hippocampus, Stirring, Menacing Hedge and cream city review.
Bill Wolak is a poet, photographer, and collage artist. He has just published his twelfth book of poetry entitled Love Opens the Hands with Nirala Press. His collages have been published in over thirty magazines including The Annual, Peculiar Mormyrid, Danse Macabre, Dirty Chai, Hermeneutic Chaos Literary Journal, Lost Coast Review, Yellow Chair Review, Otis Nebula, and Horror Sleaze Trash. Recently, he was a featured poet at The Hyderabad Literary Festival. Mr. Wolak teaches Creative Writing at William Paterson University in New Jersey.