Liz Robbins' third collection, Freaked, won the 2014 Elixir Press Annual Poetry Award, judged by Bruce Bond. Her second collection, Play Button, won the 2010 Cider Press Review Book Award, judged by Patricia Smith. Poems are in recent or forthcoming issues of Beloit Poetry Journal, Cortland Review, Cream City Review, Denver Quarterly, DIAGRAM, Hayden's Ferry Review, and The Kenyon Review. She's an associate professor of creative writing at Flagler College in St. Augustine, FL.
--art of determining one's character or future by the placement of moles on the body
My right breast's moles report I'll overindulge
in many ways, bring disgrace to my family.
Are they like the doll heads I popped off long
ago, faint plastic scent the thrill of disobeying?
Or more like defensive wounds? The bed's
white sheet eaten through with ember burns.
The majestic universe is perforated with stars
so humans can breathe! But no star map me,
at least if you want fortunes told. You can peel
layer by layer and all you'll get is soggy tissues.
My wish is you walking through woods for days
and coming upon my secret ribcage wall full
of holes, the wall between the dark-trade world
and the darker beyond, speckled with fuchsia
and red cracker roses and green-eyed leaves,
the darkest spots thorns poked free of closet
skeleton roots. Together, we won't care we've
been cut free from the rest of the world; the smell
of roses alters with age (sweetest of all with a
touch of rot), and this is how we finally let go.