A recipient of an Academy of American Poets Prize, a Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Prize, and the Wendy Fort Foundation Prize, Liz has published poems in such journals as Willow Springs, Sugar House Review, The New York Quarterly, RHINO, Nimrod, and Beloit Poetry Journal. She is the author, also, of the chapbook, Something to Help Me Sleep from {dancing girl press}.


Firewood—The Witch Explains the Nature of Men

Mother said I was the best at gathering because I was small
and could slip into spaces the sun and rain couldn’t reach,
where the trees were oldest, beginning to splinter off limbs.
I knew it was less about smallness than it was about ease. I’d press
only with my fingers until the forest opened to take my body
in. I’ve watched a man force his way, breaking branches in jagged
snags, a window torn in the dark heart of the wood.
They might have swayed to a lighter touch. Instead,
their rough edges caught him at knife-point, ripped at his arms,
his shirt, his face. This is how a man moves in the world,
the friction of him working like a grindstone. He thinks only
of what he can wear down. He is always surprised by the blades.

published in Sweet


Ella at the used Bookstore

The air is heavy
with dust. My feet scuff
across the worn carpet.
I read titles, brush
the tips of my fingers
along the spines, linger
over Kafka, wonder who
will read the pages next,
touch where I have
touched. I want to buy
each copy and bury
it beneath the azaleas
in my neighbor’s side yard.
I can see them from my
window, blooming
lazily in the sun. I want
to give them sadness.
I want them to earn
each petal.

from Something to Help Me Sleep {dancing girl press} buy the chapbook

originally published in Mannequin Envy


A Warning

My friend says, I feel better knowing there’s a bridge just a mile away, 
and I understand what she means about last resorts, 
about the call of the water, why it’s not the direction
she drives on nights when only the car’s engine and its wheels
over gravel will soothe the baby, finally, to sleep. 

Sometimes, I stand outside myself watching. The boy says, 
I want a peanut butter bar, which we don’t have, and I tell him this
in the voice I usually reserve for company or home
movies, but this time I’m offering it generously, lovingly, 
to make up for my lack of forethought at the store. 

I use it five times, and when he says, for the sixth time, I want
a peanut butter bar, I lean into his face, close enough to kiss, 
and feel the words We don’t have any fucking peanut butter bars
press from between my teeth. And when he starts to cry, 
I feel happy. I feel relief. When I say I understand why that woman

took a hatchet to the children and then herself, 
I mean to scare you. I mean to scare myself. There is so much
we don’t have enough of. There is so much they want. 

 published in Beloit Poetry Journal