Elizabeth Colen

California Ice Age


You stand under the eaves.
I’ll watch from the house,
pit dark in the pitch black,
my legs muddied from rain.

I have only what I brought in my pockets.
It is the square rock that soothes me.
The wonder of how the corners were hewed.

And when we depart, wings of the rest of us—
shared brown eyes blown clear green—
when we depart, sounds of the neighborhood
join sounds from our insides. Fear builds
a stomach symphony about fire in the desert.

Hands up.
And feet given up.
Hands up, shout louder in your language.
It doesn’t mean a thing.

Scowl means black wet.


Black wet confluence of history=small girl meets
block after block of Family Lives Lie and Calls it Hope.

There’s the torrent, then the ionized children we knew
we were, glowing in the underbrush, clutching at stars.

Scratching green letters onto pavement thick
with blown leaves.

Brother lover,
we remember.


A=candy cane. B=mud on the stairs. C=black leather suitcase.
The space where it was on the floor absent of dust.


Treetops look like mountain ridges, sway.
A harsh sound. Temblor, I say.

Tremble. The place where father lives
is governed by thieves. Where he left us.

He died/never left us.


Written into skyline. And this is how we happen.
Contrails melt, evaporate lights with weather.

Red risking the water,
turning the red into blue.

Elizabeth J. Colen’s first book of poetry, Money for Sunsets was released this year by Steel Toe Books. Her flash fiction chapbook Dear Mother Monster, Dear Daughter Mistake will be published in a collection with Rose Metal Press in early 2011. Find out more at elizabethjcolen.blogspot.com.

“The front porch is where I wait for you. Just until I hear the stutter of your truck’s engine pulling up the drive. Then I go inside so as not to seem too eager.”


Executive Editor
Tom Grimes

Managing Editor
Jane Hawley

Co-Managing Editor
Reyes Ramirez

Poetry Editor
Jennifer Whalen

Fiction Editor
Stan Rivkin

Nonfiction Editor
Heather Lefebvre

Eric Blankenburg

Copy Editor
Sessa Kratz

Interviews Editor
Amanda Scott

Public Relations Manager
Samantha Tanner

Book Reviews Editor
Mallory Chesser

Blog Editor
Josh Lopez

Assistant Blog Editor
Alicia Salzmann

Sarah Howze
Dan Barton
Niko Kyriakou
Theresa Holden
Brandon Ricks
Casey Winters
Rachel Gray
Lawton Cook
Lauren Bull
Benjamin Seanor
James Deitz
Timothy Dailey
Maggie Ilersich
Stuart Gill
Katrina Goudey
Dorothy Lawrenson
Ram Hinojosa
Meg Griffitts
Jacob Massey
Paul Adams
Allison Myers
Phillip Mandel
John Edgar
Michaela Hansen
Shelby Newsom
Ashton Kamburoff
Graham Oliver

Faculty Advisor
Steve Wilson

Founding Editors
Michael Hart
Evelyn Lauer
Josh Magnuson
Toby Peterson
Michael Wolfe

Advisory Board
Katie Angermeier
Ben Engel
Evelyn Lauer
Herpreet Singh


logo for the CLMP

All photos were taken at the Katherine Anne Porter Literary Center, by Sameera Kapila and Herpreet Singh.

Website design by Sameera Kapila