Winter 2005

Erin Elizabeth


Erin Elizabeth Erin Elizabeth's poetry has previously appeared in Pif Magazine, Black Bear Review, Miller's Pond, Taint, as well as numerous others. She is currently an MFA candidate at the University of Illinois, where she serves as the editor-in-chief of Stirring.
OId State Of Lisle    

    From 1824-35 Abigail Powers ran a
    select school outside Lisle, New
    York.  In 1826, Miss Powers became
    the bride of President Millard

We were not far from the unearthed mastodon,
its pelvic igloo marking the entrance of our town.
The deer were thick here then, drawn by the salt
surfacing in the Tioughnioga. They gave us our name.

Back then, we were more than skulls of houses,
the railroad breaking through our skin like a spine.  
We were a field of September thistle bruising the hill,
the post office opening to make us a town.

The rabbit races drew men from three counties away.
The town's vermin knew the swift metal of their machetes
and how to fall to them. Their deaths uncapping the city,
bringing it to a bustling bloom.

Today, the woman at the bait shop says it's hard
to catch anything with nightcrawlers here,
but it's a nice place to live. The picnic washings
every Saturday. The wind spinning the weathervanes.

Look at the old state of Lisle, Millard,
a town eaten through by summer and snow.
See how the paint flakes from the courthouse,
like a canvas asking to be taken back.



Erin Elizabeth: Poetry
Copyright © 2005 The Cortland Review Issue 27The Cortland Review