Liz Robbins


Finally, a humiliation:
that with age, lust never
goes. Some days, sudden
as a tail light, red nudge
in the loins, a braking. Or
the purple-cursive note
folded/refolded to tissue,
tucked into shame’s bulged
envelope. Would I be less
duty’s derelict if the objects
made sense? If the life-entire
dream group could be
blacked out, revised to age-
proper? Inside, the mid-
age woman’s odd and rootless
nectar thirst. Not so strange,
now, the women compelled
to eat dirt. I dream them
in moonlight, hunched,
scrabbling in cabbage rows,
making whispers all their own,
volt-white skin and the dark
mouth, life and death. Hanging
the arbor, the high grapes
we can no longer identify.
Mornings, I wake to the dog-
heart beside me. Good, that
the cool spirit with it rises–
tamping down the small
fire left to burn by the tracks
that forever lead out of town.

Liz Robbins’ third collection, Freaked, won the 2014 Elixir Press Annual Poetry Award, judged by Bruce Bond. Her second collection, Play Button, won the 2010 Cider Press Review Book Award, judged by Patricia Smith; her album Picked Strings is a recording of various poems from that collection. Her chapbook Girls Turned Like Dials won the 2012 YellowJacket Press prize. Poems are in recent or forthcoming issues of Beloit Poetry Journal, Cortland Review, Cream City Review, Denver Quarterly, DIAGRAM, Hayden’s Ferry Review, and The Kenyon Review. She’s an associate professor of creative writing at Flagler College in St. Augustine, Fla.