Honey licked her promises, lips bricked
over a swarm of angry teeth & beneath
the plaqued grandeur of a history where home
wailed & waited for no one. Honey promised.
Cake-slabber, locked outside the larder she
shit-stirred the sweet out of every tea, sugarlye
sipping, her liver an onion peeling itself wet
with whiskey, with the nerve of those pills
sleeping in the hollow of a dark. Bad baby. Honey
refused. Honey blamed the war on attrition & shame on
the boy’s new blonde, lemon-juiced from tease
& bang to ankle, & so any other pretty little flame
became the bitch she’d lullaby, burning to honor
a name familied under a father as absent as any
Jesus must by His Holy roll away & be.
The recipient of a 2017 Creative Writing Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, Emma Bolden is the author of two full-length collections of poetry -- medi(t)ations (Noctuary Press, 2016) and Maleficae (GenPop Books, 2013) – and four chapbooks. A Barthelme Prize and Spoon River Poetry Review Editor’s Prize winner, her work has appeared in The Best American Poetry, The Best Small Fictions, and Poetry Daily as well as such journals as The Rumpus, StoryQuarterly, Prairie Schooner, Conduit, the Indiana Review, Harpur Palate, the Greensboro Review, Feminist Studies, Monkeybicycle, The Journal, and Guernica. She currently serves as a Senior Reviews Editor for Tupelo Quarterly.