the wolf spiders slipping beneath the damp overlay
and under my rug of incomplete feelings.
Like dead skin paper clips,
change is a revolving door of rigid bends,
mangled extremities, and severed appendages.
We hang our raspberry stained skins,
clothespin them to our eyelids—
flag of red, brown, bullet-riddled pride,
and it is a post of infamy.
Our nuclear families
smile like Stepford,
the conveyor belt is the creak of
claims to be less of what it really is, was—
Everywhere is worship.
Everywhere is a side, a right in defense,
a child understanding the unhealed land, and
the blank faced stare of justified murdering—
the compliance, the bow of fear,
the killing in the name of freedom.
the killing in the name of man's law.
the killing in the name of God.
Our Cicada Bugs
Overnight the ground became
you overlooked the subtlety,
first noticed their singing
and looked up into our backyard's
Your worried brow asked me
about the sudden buzzing.
You shuffled closer from the sound,
my hissing consonants.
Nice bugs—I said and you were less tense.
You asked me to make them stop.
Your always insisting on this,
my harnessed control, my limits
on a whim,
looking for the idea in the leaves,
the bugs that shed effigies
and blend effervescent green.
You thought I was God though you
had not formed the word.
I tried to show you God in everything,
in disappointment, in fear
of mystery, in sensation and movement,
I told you—they tunnel through night
like dormant sleepwalkers to crawl up
their mothers' spines
after seventeen years of drinking
the gold sap.
We stuck our knuckles into the holes,
dug to see
how deep down they'd go
as the cicadas' cries began to wane.
We stood in the trough of their calls as
they came in waves for you,
the one who hasn’t forgotten
how to listen.
You who taught me how to listen.
Kaci Skiles Laws is a writer and artist living in Dallas—Fort Worth. Her work has been featured in The Letters Page, at Bewildering Stories, 50 Haikus, Former People, and is upcoming in The American Journal of Poetry, The Bollman Bridge Review, and Sub Rosa Zine. She won an award for her poem, This is How it Ends, by NCTC's English Department and is currently working on a children's book called The Boogerman. Some of her and her husband's visual artwork can be viewed on their YouTube channel listed under Kaci and Bryant. Kaci recommends Together Rising.