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There's Grass Somewhere, but I Don’t Know How to Find It

This December, The VICE Reader is publishing some really amazing poetry. Deal with it.

Image by Olivia Hinds

Lizzie Harris's poems have appeared in Barrow Street, Carolina Quarterly, Painted Bride Quarterly, and Phantom Limb. Her first collection, Stop Wanting, is forthcoming in spring 2014 from Cleveland State University Poetry Center. She's a poetry editor for Bodega Magazine.

There's Grass Somewhere, but I Don’t Know How to Find It

If I'm wrong, what blue pulse 

would darken? For years I went not knowing 

why I spoke to water, why I stitched lace 

over a piping plate. What thing did you water 

to make me love like half a socket? I do knit bricks

around my stomach, a stray licking itself sour. 

As a child I lived like a keepsake beneath the cushion 

and now I wear pity like a dinner napkin. There are people 

in this room who don’t want me: I know them. 

I must have been a girl someone spoke to—I knew 

each word left the mouth. You’re sure I love 

for the utility, but show me an oven who doesn’t 

love the baker. Believe me. My first love was yellow 

gloves my mother wore to wash dishes. Please, I won't ever

be this young again. My mother still calls to say she made 

my bed, each month she airs dust from the linen. 

She lasts like breath in a stone lung. Says I could live 

one day, if or when I’m ready to.

                                                                         ***

I Came from There

Love found you in a line and wanted to service you Love noticed little things Love took eleven days to call Love ate Indian food on a stranger's porch Love told a ghost story that made you see love clearly for the first time Love danced to Bobby Darin with his tongue out Love was a warm wet place for critters to live Love tied a tourniquet Love was so warm the pests laid eggs Love was salt on a mango Love packed a large duffle with doorknobs but Love never asked you to carry it Love crawled to his side of the bed Love gathered everything and gave it to you Love bought bitters and took one glass from a set of four Love washed your dishes Love's hair was black marbles you found mango on Love’s tongue you found he found you upsetting Love was a carry on you wanted love close but Love moved his body to the couch moved his clothes to the chair moved pieces of time so they fit to reveal a picture of skin Love isn't asked to disassemble anything Love made home too homely Love made impossible to make Love became invisible Love didn't answer

                                                                        ***

Birdie’s Little Set of Legs

abandoned her body. Tossed it like 

a tripod. People say she's got good on her shoulders,

as in, she'd stick her neck out for anyone. Bird's got her pick 

of the wishbone. In fact, her mother could span a tuna can, 

her mother likes nests to have a good bit of hair. Bird elevates the garbage. So what? Bird's about as fickle as any living thing. She sees sky and wants 

to bury it. Somewhere, in a compost, egg feeds 

on purple cabbage. Bird eggs a neighbor’s car. 

Bird gets too big for the backstroke. Bird couldn't wing 

a fly, but Bird found want—she wants big.

Bird’s real big now.

The VICE Reader is a series in which we publish original fiction—mostly. We also feature the occasional poem, essay, book review, diary entry, Graham Greene-style dream-diary entry, Zemblan fable, letter to the editor, letter to a fictional character, and anything else that is so good we feel it must be shared among the literary-minded and the internet at large.

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