Sarah Lillius

Pounding the Hammer Against What May Live

Call me carpenter. Shoot me up with splinters. I nail you into existence. You’re safe here in this room with me. I can build us into each other. We can be the trees cut, the sawdust in our eyes as we stare.

We’re photographs, still and lifeless, a magazine of sordid truth. Flat out two by fours you can’t arch your back on easily. I want to watch you rest against a dresser of simple pine. Dusty and imperfect.

Cedar chests where mothers keep secrets, they burn slightly where the screws live like metal lies. Small crocheted clothes, folded love letters, professional emotion scented and preserved.

The easy grey fence surrounds us year after year. Our visits ingrained into the fiber of weathered wood. My brain is a place where you set up shop. When you ask me questions, boundaries line up and bow, performers enslaved in an endless loop.

I’m here with a hammer in hand and a nail against my lips. Ready to build answers, sugar coated and bloody from the saw you’re always placing around my flesh, it’s a new weapon in your hand that you guide easily to find red.

Edward Michael Supranowicz – Humiliation









West Point

Two words in my mouth,

               hard ass           bad ass            crazy ass,

     torn down the sides,                                                   reveals a real man.

I know you must have ruined

     your career when you left,      the person your father wanted you to be

                                                                   shattered into nights left closed.

Two words in his mouth

          yelled across a table                in a room

     your sister,       yourself,               your mother,

countless meals of no consequence.

Now your head is shaved.                  Your boots.                 Your spine.

          Your hands hidden.                You’re hidden.

Only new manhood                shows like a crease in camouflage.

I loved you.     I trusted you.              This ends badly.

          I write dumb poems about you.          Violent moments around my neck.

                     Push and silence as moving candles               create mood,

                                          burn down houses.

I’m the mess you don’t know

          you created.                One, two, three.

                                                             Turnstile function,

                                                                        nothing left the field.

          Soldiers run home       daylight folds, moonlight rips,            brides wait.

I’m in my mind           on a small bed             waiting.

The way you ruined me

             like putting out a campfire,     a firework gone awry

                                  on your own personal holiday,            now it looks patriotic,

                       but it was always red, white, and blue.

Sarah Lilius is the author of four chapbooks, including GIRL (dancing girl press, 2017), and Thirsty Bones (Blood Pudding Press, 2017). Her work can be found in Luna Luna Magazine, Pithead Chapel, and Fourteen Hills. She lives in Arlington, VA with her husband and two sons. Her website is sarahlilius.com.