I walk out the front door, past palms lifting their fronds in the cold wind, carrying all my tiny, private terrors
with me. If terrors are gray horses galloping, then I must love them or I won’t keep trying. Hooves hard
on my chest: to want is to live. The horses never rest, take me to the country I work in, an arid land
with powerful men who ride, make cells for others to cry in. The cells may have no lock—no door even--
but it is too dark to really know. At night, I conjure the grief pictures, though they’re halfway
imagined. I turn out lights, recall my faults, as if staying in shame guards against future losing. If there’s no
relief, at least there are palms, waving in the wind. Hope in little emblems. How sweetly dark, how artful,
the good smudge one makes on the earth: we won’t be recalled for our terrors, but how we reached beyond
the real and invisible iron bars. I walk out the front door, looking to the palms, gold crucifix banging about my heart.
Liz Robbins' third collection, Freaked, won the 2014 Elixir Press Annual Poetry Award; her second collection, Play Button, won the 2010 Cider Press Review Book Award. In 2015, she won the Crab Orchard Review Special Issue Feature Award in Poetry and, in 2016, was nominated for the Pushcart Prize by Fugue. Her poems have appeared in Beloit Poetry Journal, Denver Quarterly, Hayden’s Ferry Review, Kenyon Review Online, Poetry Daily, Rattle, and Garrison Keillor’s The Writer’s Almanac. She’s an associate professor of creative writing at Flagler College in St. Augustine, FL.