The Layering of Things and Other Poems by Elisabeth Horan

The Layering of Things


Layer my breath

upon your back

as blessings, as


A load, lightened

a donkey, relieved

his weight, less

and destination,

nearer to this road

closer to God


The barn, warm

lighted, hay bed

grain and water.


Layer my words

like the golden teeth

you seek

which you have

chewed down

root bare in

the long angst

of life, know, I am


The words which spill

over, the buoyant idea

to write your life

on my grave.


It’s ok. Layer

the tears into

something drinkable


Don’t let them spill

in hungry drains

which know not

what they mean

nor grasp their meaning.


Which don’t belong

to your heart.


The Son of God is my Son


I am a blind old hag of a lady;

who never new how to mother –

who lost babies one after another –


Now they call me witch and stone me asunder.

God, forgets to feed me; rations my Jesus.


I cannot tell a lie from a man,

but I know they look so much like each other,


It’s the uncanny things of humanity…

sleeping at the dump, sleeping on a bus.

what some will do to a once virginal body —


Who gets to declare what is from Heaven

and what is an ill and broken human angel.

In our selves, our eyes script divine

over the broken hand tremors —


Don’t think I don’t feel your wings

brush against my pox and

float me upon the wind.


Don’t think I didn’t see you fill

my water with milk,

last week and yesterday and again today.


I repay the gifts of abundance

with no repentance; no admission;


I will not tell your secret,

your name on my lips,

as my child,


As the son of God,

to anyone.


The Plum Tree Tries So Hard


Love, I am the miracle fingers of the plum tree –

I reach down, mauve, dripping,

my skin as taut as I can possible manage

under the weight of this corralled grief.


Feel my skin peel open, alive,

it’s meat for to feed you

the protein, of missed relatives – I wish


I knew the way to paint

a smile on your face;

to be a mother’s touch which

cannot be reproduced

even as I make more fruit &

more fruit till it weighs

the tree away from Heaven –


God never learns to feed it

out fast enough and it

makes for shrunken prunes and raisins…


They wither on my vine – this = how

my heart feels when it cannot

hold your face in my hands,

a shrunken prune

and useless raisin.


Always asking after God.


Wallet Pictures

I am going back down into a dark place; there are cobwebs like sprouts in a rotten hummus wrap; there are pictures of you from when we were happy (you had hair still, and no bitter notions) – I fell in, you swam out to save me: normal.

Sunbathing reminds me of your character choices – vain and red: a lobster-loving captain; Cain. Weinstein hooking this Virgin Writer’s words and weaving them as his own eggish orb-pillows. Bloody hell / period / no pad / no advil.  Immaculacy in conception were we –

Sleeping well are you? Sleeping in too? Without me there to grind the coffee with my teeth, I would think a long, undisturbed sleep suits you; while angry angry me; spiteful, jealous, pin-prick, saddle-sore arrhythmia waits –

I’m pithy.  Unrefined little ‘ol jaded ticked off cancer-morph, low platelet count, creamery style cholesterol and oh-my-goodness-graft; hurt me.

Hurt me. Hurt me. Done yet? We done with this yet?


Elisabeth Horan is an imperfect creature advocating for animals, children and those suffering alone and in pain – especially those ostracized by disability and mental illness. Elisabeth is honored to serve as Poetry Editor at Anti-Heroin Chic Magazine, and is Co-Owner of Animal Heart Press. She recently earned her MFA from Lindenwood University and received a 2018 Best of the Net Nomination from Midnight Lane Boutique and a 2018 Pushcart Nomination from Cease Cows. She has books coming out in 2019 with Fly on the Wall Poetry Press, Twist in Time Press, Flypaper Magazine, Hedgehog Poetry Press, and Cephalo Press

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