Tag: Karen Weyant

The (Almost) Lost Legend of the Lawson Boys

They spit tobacco juice in clear Mason jars
and smoked cigarette butts they found

smoldering on the cracked sidewalk.
They wore T-shirts with Budweiser logos

and old jeans stained with spaghetti sauce.
All learned to cuss early, the youngest

swearing through two missing front teeth
and a slight lisp. I watched them from

my Big Wheels perch, skinny legs stretched
in front of me, barely reaching the plastic pedals.

When they got too loud, my mother always
called me inside. She didn’t want me to see

how they drank Pepsi for breakfast or how they ate
left-over pizza and black licorice for lunch.

She didn’t want me to watch them playing
chicken on their bikes, riding head-on

into each other, yelling whenever one swerved
sideways into a cloud of flying gravel.

When they moved away, weeds cloaked
the front lawn overnight. The For Sale grew rusty.

For weeks, I looked for aluminum cans, ashes,
a bicycle spoke, anything that said they were once real.

The Girl Who Collected Abandoned Birds’ Nests

By mid-November, I had mastered my climbing skills.
I balanced on teetering barn ladders to reach for eves,

prying mud-cupped nests from splintering wood.
I hoisted myself up the bare branches of Oak trees,

to reach for small baskets of gnatcatcher nests
each decorated with lichen, each anchored in place

by thin strands of spider webs I snapped
with my fingers. Once, I even unhooked

swinging sock nests of Baltimore orioles,
each woven together with threads of grape vines

or snarls of tangled fishing line. But my favorites
were the Blue Jay nests, found in the crotches

of Evergreen branches, round cradles woven
tight with twigs twisted from live trees.

Inside, I would find bits of cigarette butts or
a single fake fingernail, red polish gleaming.


Every kitchen edge was her tool:
the side of the sink, a rim
of a mixing bowl, the round lip
of a measuring cup. Snapping
her wrist my mother could break
an egg with a single flick, pull apart
shells so that a stray thumb
would never slip into the yolk.
Yellow suns like those
in my crayon-colored pictures
fell into frying pans or mixing bowls.
Circles were never punctured,
but with every toss of broken shell,
her skin grew thinner. Veins bulged,
deep fate lines cut into her hands.
This is where I learned that
a clean break starts with a tiny
fracture, and then a crack.

NOVUS Literary and Arts Journal
Lebanon, TN