Tag: Shannon Lise

When the Person Stays Dead

When the person stays dead,

you finally find time 

to deep clean the bathroom,

throw out all those promises

you almost made to God.


Afterwards, you climb the roof

and watch the stars go hunting.

Carnage chokes the sky and prayer

shoots shrieking over the edge

of the world, a river into the void.


Dawn threatens, savage with sparks

that unknot the flesh and the face

of God is a wandering home

where no one you know has been.


Way down by the water

the light still shivers offshore,

a little flame that leaps and flies

like an asteroid on the wind.


When the person stays dead,

then you know that God is a rebel

queen, with her back against the wall.

Black Ice

Bruised skies smoke as my lips turn cold.

I waited in the hospital but no one said your name.

I woke up and it didn’t go away.


Blind wings of winter beat against our garden door.

I tried to write a letter but the moment never came.

The empty houses rage and flare.


Glaze of bladed snowflakes makes the day run pale.

I watched our candled windows stumble numbly to the dark

But I woke up and I still know who you are.

I Wake and Feel the Fall

In the middle of the afternoon I wake and feel

the fall of dark — the shadow on the dogwood


and the shortening of days. It is easier to say

things to the facelessness of crowded places full


of light. You can kill the thing you cherish in a

thousand different ways. In my dream I got


your name wrong; would you leave me if you knew?

In your place there are a thousand other faces


and I don’t know what to say. Long ago you gave

me something from the darkness to hold onto


through the failing of the springtime, through

dimming of our faces — would you make a last

appearance and remind me what it is? You can


kill the thing you’re scared of if you let it walk

you home, if you let it come in close enough —


enough to feel your breath. In my dream I

didn’t know you and you laid down on my bed.

NOVUS Literary and Arts Journal
Lebanon, TN