Selection from “The Green Condition”
The best bonfires are built with balled-up newspaper and small sticks for kindling, and logs stacked into an inverted V.
I sit alone with mine, drinking whiskey and eating marshmallows straight from the bag.
Ferries are strips of light that move slow on an invisible horizon. The woody smoke blows inland, burns my eyes.
Across the alley, I watch the neighbor learn about surrender.
She puts the small bundle in the center of the mesh table in her yard. It cries. It shakes its small hands free; they tremble in the space just above its chest. When do we become whole? I wonder, thinking: This isn’t it.
She walks a few paces away before turning back. She slips her finger inside the bright pink baby fist, pulls it up. The crying continues.
Elizabeth J. Colen has lived in three dozen different houses in seven different states. She is the author of poetry collections Money for Sunsets (Steel Toe Books, 2010; finalist for the Lambda Literary Award in 2011) and Waiting Up for the End of the World: Conspiracies (Jaded Ibis Press, 2012), as well as flash fiction collection Dear Mother Monster, Dear Daughter Mistake (Rose Metal Press, 2011), and the hybrid long poem / lyric essay The Green Condition (Ricochet Editions, 2014).
Mary Stone Dockery is the author of One Last Cigarette, a poetry collection, and the chapbooks Blink Finch and The Dopamine Letters. Her poetry and prose has appeared inStirring: A Literary Collection, Gutter Eloquence, Arts & Letters, Redactions, and others. She earned her MFA from the University of Kansas in 2012. Currently, she lives and writes in St. Joseph, MO, where she teaches English at Missouri Western State University and coordinates the First Thursdays Open Mic at Norty’s Bar and Grill.