Lisa Fay Coutley

June: Tinea

or ringworm    which I refuse to allow
            myself to Google Image     hell

it took me ten years to allow myself
            to consider how old you’d be now

mother    shaking your denim bell
            in a kitchen always avocado

smoke whole notes our thrumming
            home lined by lilacs green apples

lake water behind forest before sounds
            so idyllic it’s ridiculous

that I have both arms under a soggy
            box of records when the neighbor

squares her hands on my shoulders
            squeezes     remembers dad

(now dead) chasing you naked
            through the field waving

a pistol at your lovely     I must not
            have woken that night     Special

Little Lady that I was for always taking him
            by the hand to the orange rocking chair

spider swinging into that bright crushed
            not quite velvet where you weren’t

well but weren’t being beaten anymore
            so shhh     quiet down now daddy

there’s no reason to be so light
     house in the living room or living

loom     as I’d say then     that’s how
     little I was    dad    that’s how little

you were     buttersoft hands
            around everyone’s throat

abysses for eyes choked
            into every exploding color

less welts growing darker
            than dueling empty wells

so when she says you’re a miracle
            Lisa Fay I think maybe but not

the same as a Nepalese baby found
            under rubble dust caked

over his eyes all messiah in the fire
            fighter’s arms not like proof

of divinity but bones never broken
            though molded by aftershock.



Lisa Fay CoutleyLisa Fay Coutley is the author of Errata (Southern Illinois University Press, 2015), winner of the Crab Orchard Series in Poetry Open Competition Award, and In the Carnival of Breathing (Black Lawrence Press, 2011), winner of the Black River Chapbook Competition. Her writing has been awarded a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, scholarships to the Sewanee and Bread Loaf Writers’ Conferences, and an Academy of American Poets Levis Prize. Recent poetry and prose publications include Kenyon Review, Prairie Schooner, Gulf Coast, and Poets & Writers. She is Visiting Assistant Professor in Poetry in the University of Oregon’s MFA/CRWR program.




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