Elizabeth Kirkpatrick Vrenios
Who would believe they could swim
in warm waters with us
brushing against our legs?
Who would believe
that they are so winged and fierce,
to peck at our bones?
They crack us open to the light
to burn away fat satisfaction.
They are the water-wings,
the darning needles, the measuring stick,
the constant tick of the clock at midnight.
They are the broken dolls, the extinguished candles.
the suitcase packed,
the train dragging its long syllable over the hill.
They live in our palms and behind our knees,
at the bottom of our prayers.
They sing with us.
They bless us. They lean
their pitchforks against the wall.
Elizabeth Kirkpatrick Vrenios, professor emerita from American University, was recently featured in Tupelo Press’s 30/30 challenge. She has been published in many publications including Clementine, Cumberland River Review, The Feminine Collective, The Kentucky Review, and Edison Literary Review. Her chapbook Special Delivery, Yellow Chair Press prize winner will be published this spring.