Emily R. Spacek


The rain lily blooms on a windowsill during our drought
and everything feels like an island desert now.

All that is happening is happening only now
but that is not understanding an island or a desert.

Sometimes I define livable as an equation
of all I have to hide underneath.

But the nonlinear, unqualified look
in the cow’s marble eyes rings
like mine.

I’m afraid we are both being used
against ourselves –

I want to sterilize her.

Sometimes my dreams are so real
they are a lifeline.

Only half my family migrated west and
it takes me twenty years to realize
why a memory stays or goes.

As far as excuse can carry a family
a people
one drop
it is not far enough.

My grandmother didn’t cry at the passing of time
but took my hands instead –

small fists of great basin sage
and clutched god’s eyes.

When there’s no more water – when I want more from a loss

couldn’t we have stored the salt
from our eyes to drink instead.

Let it carry us across
the island desert.

Before cutting the sage
I gave my reserves to her instead.

Crouching there beside (hidden)
my back twisted into the pained shape

of her splitting trunk.

About the Author

Emily R. Spacek is a writer based in Salt Lake City, Utah.