Five Poems

Lacie Semenovich

Photo Credit: Julian Macedo/Flickr (CC-by-nc-nd)

The world is empty
for D.H.

The world is empty
of you before we feel

the space of you occupied
by should haves, chances
waiting to be taken, plans
unfilled, promises broken

without intent or malice,
simply the unknowable
future we all borrow against.

We ask cliché questions.
Have only silence to offer
in grief’s call and response.

We are not clever or profound
when death stares us down
through closed eyes.

Tonight someone
pours whiskey to the earth
for you, barbecues ribs in your
memory, smokes a cigarette
without you, whispers your name

in prayer, talks your spirit home until
the sun colors morning.


Muse on Vacation

My Muse is on vacation in Paris or Berlin or Venice.
Her temp sits with his feet on the desk—snoring.
She sends postcards—a photograph of Rodin’s The Thinker,
Michelangelo’s drawings, a poem from Zimbabwe—throughout
the summer with a sentence or two about natural beauty and human
creativity but not enough to piece together her romances. She meditated
a whole month in India—silent—refusing even to hold a pen.
She went to China to see The Great Wall and read mountains
of poetry, but stayed only a day saying she felt stifled,
saw too much important work to be done. She felt unprepared,
untrained. I think she blamed me. She writes that she doesn’t know
when she will return. Not to wait for her. Not to while away my hours
jealous of her escapades. I fear she will find a lover. One who bathes
her in dictionaries of rare words. Who does not ignore her
in the middle of the night when she lashes against the bed frame.
Someone who follows her to Antarctica in search of talking penguins.
I want to pull stars from the sky for her. Transcribe the ancient hearts
of women before words complicated everything. I write all the bad poems
I can so that she can see how much I need her.


The Ocean


We picnicked on the beach,
befriended the land crabs.

I scooped holes
in the sand,
hands cupped
in giving.

I piled
a new mountain
behind me.

The sand slid
into my eyes.

The mountain
buried me.
The crabs carried
my still beating heart
to the ocean.


On the third day
God named the Earth.


The sea turtle
washed ashore
bloated with death.

I said a prayer
and left him
to his decay
and carried my own
down the beach.


When a never born
child’s name is stolen,

a never mother weeps.


The wind builds
in my ears.

The waves teach
me to fall.

The sharks lick
my cut knees.


He drives with impatience.


I meditate
to carry peace
in my pocket
from this life to the next.


The reincarnated child
hops with joy to see
his light tower again.

The adults shiver

and say prayers.


Everyone sleeps
while I write,
while the mountain cuts
new teeth.


Sleeping Alone

I miss the weight
of your calloused hands
on my bare stomach
pulling me into the cave
of your torso.

Sleep comes quicker
when your breath
guards the hollow
of my ear, when your heart
beats against my back.

I lie awake with the ghost
of your knees bending
into mine.


A Mother’s Vigil

She waits
for her son
all night, all
day, until
time is light
and dark.

Until she is
and awake
in every

Her yarn-
burned fingers
crochet American
flags. She
sleeps, white
knuckled, sweat
filled, dreams his
birth, remembers
his death.

by war, she will not
recognize his
face when
he returns. His eyes
dimmed, full
of sand and blood.

The cat claws
at the door. Tree
branches scratch
the roof. Dogwoods
bloom. Snow
surprises the ground.

She turns
on the night
and sits
in the half moon’s
light, hook
and yarn twist
and separate,
the pattern
so familiar
it makes itself.


Lacie Semenovich is a poet and fiction writer living in Cleveland, Ohio, USA. Her work has appeared in B O D Y, Sheila-Na-Gig online, Qwerty, Chiron Review, and The Best Small Fictions 2020. She is the author of a chapbook, Legacies. Email: lacie_clark[at]

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