Nebraska Center for Writers

PATRIARCH
by Liz Kay

— When the boy confessed to raping a 3 year old, his father
took him out to a parking lot and shot him in the head.
Itís not yet winter, but the air is just starting to turn,
which is why the boy is wearing long pants and a sweatshirt,
or had been wearing them, now heís stripping them off.
The man makes him fold the clothes, set them in a stack
on the ground. The man is not one for messes.
Behind him, a woman is screaming. The boy kneels
on the ground. He says, Daddy donít. He says
Iím sorry. The woman is screaming. I canít tell you
what she says — no one is listening. The boy is
kneeling. The woman is screaming. The man is
controlling his breath. His eyes are wide open.
Heís counting to three.

Reprinted with permission
from Fourteen Hills, Volume 17.2
Copyright © 2011
by Liz Kay


THE ROCK GARDEN
by Liz Kay


Just below
the surface, a bed
secures the stones,
holds them steady
beneath the step
of our small boys,
who have been told
often to stay off.

Instead, they make
their way, as on a bridge
above the mulch,
wobbling a bit
beside the Salvia,
and worse, the roses.

One day, their small hands
will reach
into those sharp branches.
Looking to steady themselves,
they will gather
only a palm-full
of thorns.
Against the comfort
of their early lives,
theyíll find
a different sort
of balance.

Reprinted with permission
from Redactions: Poetry & Poetics Issue, Issue 13
Copyright © 2010
by Liz Kay


RITE OF SPRING
by Liz Kay

You and I make love
as if itís spring,
though thereís frost all around,
and the lilies
have yet to interrupt.

Birds forego their formations.
No reason to fly
south now that the seasons
have forgotten
their order.

You clear
the leaves from the pond
and the water sits
crystalline, free
of algae and other life.

I can feel the iris
undulating
in the hard soil, the tulips
polishing their cups. Tell me
the words

to set things right.

Reprinted with permission
from Nimrod, 54.2
Copyright © 2011
by Liz Kay


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