Tithe fool’s gold: The poetry of Laken Emerson

By Laken Emerson


Four steps to first morning, six months after the last (what am I if not sentimental)


Draw lines inside me. Swirl them. Make them look like you.
Wrack us like thunder. Soak the sheets with rain and snow melt.
Drag from cigarette. Add to storm clouds.
Point out I don’t smoke.
            Neither does my mother. But she knew I knew.
Chime my name like church bells.


Pull two more. One for me now, too.
Pull his name from me.
            You can keep what I cast out.
Pull me over. Pull me under.
Pull thread from comforter seams. It comes easily.
Pull stitching from my bible. It comes easier.


I wear your sweaters in the morning. You wear me.
Drink coffee from different mugs.
Hum hymns like its Sunday.
            You want another?
            I think you should leave.
Light one more on back porch. Offer to snow.
Take your wallet from the table. Tithe fool’s gold.


Find sock in bedroom floor. Large ankle. Worn heel.
            Can’t leave my demons without shelter. Jesus wept.
Toss it in corner. Give it a home.
Live with what you don’t throw out.

Laken Emerson is a writer and musician from Oklahoma, and a graduate from the University of Arkansas at Fort Smith. She is published in their campus literary magazine Applause and a guest contributor for The Flute View. She lives in Denver, Colorado, with her cat.

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