Four Poems by Elizabeth Reames

soft cartel may 2018


my legs
to stay
with enough
to launch
from under
my brain
under electric
a hazy
fueling forest
with gasoline
it breaks
and it
and I
and I
and I

and I fall into a dream
and I smell lilacs
and they are everywhere
and the trees stretch back
and back
and back
and the veins of the land
are shot through with cherry cordial
and the land is drunk
good drunk not bad drunk
because I’ve never seen bad drunk
organized in such beautiful rows
the land is fruitful
and flits like a flipbook
one still sketch after another
with the illusion of motion
just as I am under the illusion
of being in a car
without a roof
and you want to know
how I know

because the wind
is kind

I reach the lighthouse
at the end of the road
and through the shadowed verdigris
cool to the touch
and I follow the gray boards
down to the sand
and keep going
and bury my feet
in the rocks
but they don’t hurt
I do not bruise
they roll against my skin
and the water rolls
around my ankles
like a discarded dress

and I think of the fish
silken kites
eyes always open
mouth always drinking
perpetual motion
brush strokes
with paint
that disappears
when it dries

A Drunken One-Night Stand with Emily Dickinson’s Grave

All that remains is an empty bottle
And nobody knows where it came from.
Likely a gesture of reverence
a poet imbibed with benevolence
come humbly to the simple tomb
and all they brought was an empty bottle.
Maybe Emily would have liked it best
had a someone come to her place of rest
to lie a wild night above her room
setting aside an empty bottle
the grass cool between their faces
clothing and physical life mere traces
in a communion robe they come
and the only brought an empty bottle
fingers splaying across a moldering breast
buried in a once lily white dress
the blurred sensation, whiskey and rum,
poured out for Emily from a bottle.
They leave it behind after they finish
sleeping dreaming words diminished
with no idea of where they came from
or that they leave their precious bottle

My love for you is a knot
buried deep next to my heart (but
deeper than it somehow
inside my infinite insides
the unending spaces
that time will someday erase
but that’s all right
because it’s here for now
and my love for you
will be the last thing
to fade in the fire
with my weary bones)and
when I think of you
it hurts(oh well it hurts
so well that I hope it
seeps into my bones
and makes it sweeter
when I am
crawling and
breathing and
weeping and
I want to drown in it
the endless vat from which I pour
verses and symphonies
the love I give to you
its constant reprise)like
it’s being pulled tighter(but
don’t you dare tell them to stop
make it tighter
knot it so well
that it blends itself into
one single silken strand
like holding your hand
but better
because even if I am alone
I can always find you
you lie at the door of the
chamber where my soul resides
your love is tied around it
like a ribbon
on a present
that only God can open
but the window
is all yours

Phoenician Boats

My siti says the Phoenicians were
the first to land in America.
My mom agrees and I hope
they’re right.

I much prefer the sight of
a low bow skimming the surface
cedar smell mixing with salt seas
to a towering galley reeking of

Tyre pours forth its wealth in
sea shells ground down to dust
Lebanon pours forth its blood when
the Phoenicians return to the sea
my great-siti was conceived here
in limbo with no horse-head
to keep watch for the monsters
of Mot.

Maybe instinct called them to Michigan
not one not two but five
inland seas to satisfy the thirst
of the dead desperate for the
long-departed days of their veneration.
George was thirteen when he joined
their vigil.

Siti doesn’t talk about it much.

Therese, Effie, Nick, Vince, Kenny, Barbara,
and George. Decades later and Nick
joins the watch. We hold breaths
wondering whose words will join the
chorus of shadows in our periphery,
whose memory will fade into vague
feelings of anonymous ancestral pride, who’s

Mary Elizabeth Showich, who was born
in America to first-generation Lebanese immigrants,
once ditched her senior high rise
to go out and have drinks
with her fellow escapees. The pure
pandemonium among her family and friends,
their kids, their kid’s kids, her
kids, their kids, might have made
a great Applebee’s ad campaign.
They couldn’t have known their mother’s
impropriety would become legend when she
wasn’t around to tell the story

Mary Elizabeth Showich went to bed
after her fashion show. I wonder
if she knew it was over.
Or maybe she leapt to sleep,
mind buzzing with lights and memories
and applause and excitement for the


Elizabeth Reames is a writer, poet, playwright, and student located in southeast Michigan. She attends Concordia University Ann Arbor, and is working to start a poetry club there. She has had her poetry published in such magazines as The Peacock Journal and Concordia University’s arts journal, In the Moment. One of her sonnets was used in the annual PoetryLeaves Exhibition in Waterford Township, MI. She has a short story forthcoming from Betty Fedora Magazine. She is currently looking for a home for her first chapbook, Anatomy: A Reckoning.

Elizabeth works as a reviewer for She also runs a blog called The Vintage Reader, where she takes a second look at classic literature.

Twitter: @EAReames

Patreon: reviewer profile:

Vintage Reader:


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