Photo by Jonathan Pendleton on Unsplash


poem: out of the woods


I’ve been standing here so long the leaves have begun to pile up around my feet. In the distance I can hear sirens. Here comes the rain. The sun shines next. How did they know where to go? Maybe they didn’t, those sirens, maybe they were lost, I think they were lost, wailing like that. Maybe that’s what always happens with sirens, they can’t find where they are supposed to go and they wail in fear and sorrow. Nobody gets helped, the fire burns down the house, the ill do not get taken to the hospital but either recover or die all on their own. The suspects get clean away, they go into the basement and start counting their take. Someone has to deal with the corpse though. They have a designated corpse handler, I suspect. They laugh at all those wailing sirens. They get into fights over how to divide up the drugs and money, but there’s nobody to call. Some of them kill each other, which is probably a good thing, or at least some people would think so. Not their mothers though. Well, not most of their mothers. The mean mothers are glad. The mean mothers are the ones who made sure the instructions were wrong and the maps broken so the sirens could never get where they meant to go in the first place. So those particular mothers sigh, smile at each other, brush their hands together, go back into their several kitchens, make a gin and tonic (light on the tonic, dear) and relax. What is that? Oh! the birds have started finding my hair and I think there are leaves budding out and that’s a good thing, it will help hide me. Even though the sirens can’t find me, I am still afraid my mother will. I may stay here. Why not? I am hidden real well now, and the squirrels have started bringing me nuts. Look. A bird places a morsel in my mouth. I know I will not starve. One day I will leave the woods, but not today.



poem: Snapshot: Mom and Dad in the Kitchen, Cooking Something Up



I am a flavor 

on God’s tongue.

Ash and bone, perhaps

a fleeting hint of spume.

Am I bitter? sweet? 

sour? salt? Oh it’s salt no

doubt, all the sweat and tears,

the salty sea of blood 

but then when God

is a flavor on my tongue

it’s dissolving ice, a feathersong

belltone just gone

from hearing, I want to

bite down

but the tongue

burns numb and the teeth find


and there is no more speech

needed now — 

but nevermind. Nobody

wants to talk about God,

I get it, God is passe and to

mention God is to be dismissed

as naive, irrelevant, even absurd.

So let’s talk about dirt, then,

because dirt is, to replace God,

the source of all physical life around here

and do correct me if I’m wrong. Think 

of one living thing

that does not depend on dirt 

for its existence. Sea creatures? I know,

it’s a stretch, but there would be no sea

life without land life, at least not in any

way we can recognize. You need the soil

to season the soup and the stony cup

to hold it in.

Now you’d rather talk

about God, I’m betting,

because to talk about dirt is

hardly inviting if what you 

wanted was poetry. How

could there be poetry involved

in substances we’re always

cleaning up and hiding?

God knows though, you’re 

safer eating dirt than soap.

Dirt knows how to foment

wild unexpected outcomes

of which, I think we can conclude,

God approves. Put your ear

to the ground, sometime

when it’s warm. Hear that?

That’s dirt 

singing time

into matter. Now when you get up

and walk away, you’ll know

you’re walking on music.

That’s something

you won’t forget.

Kyla Houbolt’s debut micro chap, Dawn’s Fool, is available from IceFloe Press:  You can find most of her published work on her LInktree, here: and follow her on Twitter @luaz_poet.