Elizabeth Kirkpatrick-Vrenios

Death splits the air


like lightning
opens the flowering sky.

It has found its secret place
under my tongue.

It has rendered the clocks speechless
at high noon.

It embraces me like early morning fog
caught in the valley at my lips,

and curves away over the inclination of the pines.

I am kneeling inside myself —
not at your gravesite

nor in church–
but at the cusp of a poem.

There, gleaming inside, pungent and sweet
as a pomegranate seed

is the fierce shape of your memory,
even when I think I ‘ve forgotten your voice.




I still gather great handfuls of them
to boil for dinner:
dandelions, dent-de-lions,
little clockwitches,
little collywobbles
that scroop and bend,
as if they could outrun the shadows.
Their mouths no longer cupped,
hiccup halleluiahs.

I blow on the little hobbledehoys:
how many children will I have?
is my lover faithful?
how many years will I live?

the great puffs of stars open silently
to carry away the certainty of answers
on the banner of air.
Knees akimbo like golden-haloed choir boys,
they catch the light with their flyaway hair

With all that has been ruined,
the ragamuffins still endure,
leaving their roots
little symbols of sorrow,
bitter herbs of the last supper.



Hi, Noon is Here
with apologies to Hailey Leithauser


I heard someone is gunning for you. Ink up your pen.
Give them the good god-damn, give them a knick in their fancy pants.

Aim high, aim low, aim for the fight in their arrogance.
Shoot the PCP, the DDT, save the disabled bees if you must, but don’t trust
the dust from the planes. Wait for the Fahrenheit, aim

that shooter, that root-a-toot-tooter. That guerrilla will kill ya.
My god, kid, the peapods ride roughshod, fire that flotilla.

Aim for the blue pinstripe, aim for the flayed noose,
aim for the goose in the calaboose. He’s coming for you,
your parachute’s a beaut. That’s truer entre nous than 5-second glue.

Aim for surprise, aim to stun-blow, aim for the light in the evil-eye.
It’s not funny when someone is gunning for you. Load your pen and amplify,

its a hooter of -a- tooter. Keep your six-shooter high, your powder dryer than
Monsanto’s flour, your showboat afloat and your lead out of the water.
Thrust off the incubus. Shoot holes in the GMOs.

Drain the distain, aim to explain, aim for the brain and fire again.
Ink the pig-pen, pitch the goo, when that someone comes gunning for you.






Elizabeth Kirkpatrick-Vrenios‘ poetry has been featured in many online and print journals such as Clementine, Kentucky Review, Two Cities Review, GFT Press, Page and Spine, Form Quarterly, Bethlehem Writers Roundtable, and in issues of Hurricane PressUnsplendid, the Binnacle, Evening Street Review and The Edison Review. Her prize-winning chapbook, Special Delivery was published by Yellow Chair Press in the spring of 2016, and she has been a 30/30 poet for Tupelo Press.  She is a Professor Emerita from American University and has spent most of her life performing as a singing artist across Europe and the United States.

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