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—Erica Goss


A husband is not

a tree or a friend or a flower.

He is the horizon

under which a ship

has just vanished,

a direction and a prayer.

He is the cold intelligence

inside the damage,

the thunder that

sounds like guns.

Always coming home

to the wife who spends

her days building

and unbuilding

the stones around

her heart. Each day

the danger grows,

the predators emboldened.

She can’t hold them off much longer.

He arrives like warm rain.

Disappear into me, he says.

I am the east to your west.

Lust and trembling

work in her, his pleasure.


ERICA GOSS is the author of Night Court, winner of the 2017 Lyrebird Award from Glass Lyre Press. She has received numerous Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net nominations, as well as a 2023 Best American Essay Notable. Recent and upcoming publications include The Colorado Review, The Georgia Review, Oregon Humanities, Creative Nonfiction, North Dakota Quarterly, Gargoyle, Spillway, West Trestle, A-Minor, Redactions, Consequence, The Sunlight Press, The Pedestal, San Pedro River Review, and Critical Read. Erica served as Poet Laureate of Los Gatos, California, from 2013-2016. She lives in Eugene, Oregon, where she teaches, writes and edits the newsletter Sticks & Stones.

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