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Elizabeth J. Colen, “We Obey Every Other Law”

Elizabeth J. Colen, “We Obey Every Other Law”

Author: Poetry Editor

May 5, 2011

Today, a poem from Elizabeth J. Colen’s Money for Sunsets (Steel Toe Books), one of this year’s Lambda Literary Award finalists in Lesbian Poetry.


You remember it later as nothing, a sigh going nowhere. But there in the dark, trees crowding, the windsound through the creek bed took you away from yourself. And you, then as now nothing but fear shouldered over, a pair of long legs, a pretty face, your forehead hit a branch, and you left the forest scarred. I could find you by the rough line anywhere. And now, with the low sun silvering the mud halfway out the bay, you say, I had a dream it was like this once, yet when I ask what it was you say nothing and only stare. Your face is tilted. I like you better when you’re sideways, I want to say, I like you best at horizontal. I watch you while you take stock of birds in the park, black oystercatcher, marbled godwit, gulls. I’m different now, is all you say. We hear then see a plane over the trees, lifting off, a scatter of sparrows. Later, in the car, you draw pictures in my hand.


ELIZABETH J. COLEN is the author of Lambda Literary Award-nominated prose poetry collection Money for Sunsets (Steel Toe Books, 2010) and flash fiction chapbook Dear Mother Monster, Dear Daughter Mistake (Rose Metal Press, 2011). She currently resides in the Pacific Northwest, is poetry editor of Thumbnail Magazine, and occasionally blogs at

“We Obey Every Other Law” from MONEY FOR SUNSETS by Elizabeth J. Colen. Copyright © 2010 by Elizabeth J. Colen. Used by permission of Steel Toe Books. All rights reserved.

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