Feature image by Gregory Euclid, Asparagus, 2014. Sumi ink and acrylic on porcelain coated steel, 11 x 14 in.


No fissures of light shine from inside
but He has seen fresh fish bellies—all cream
and copper—slip from my hands back into the water.
He has seen the flint gray tide slink out and hide.

He thought he heard a car backfire,
but He could not be sure. This was good,
the house was silent, a sick mountain
lion crept into town, this was good.

Rabbits wriggling through wire fences good,
slipping out of their skins under blades
and thumbs good, coats soaking red good,
my knees gulping mud, sun sparking on water—

good, God said, I took clouds and planted them
in soft, red clay. I watered them with spiders’ threads
until they sprouted a stream translating into river
into rapids, good, lace-capped sliding good
—my back

to the woods good.

Layla Benitez-James

Layla Benitez-James is a recent graduate of the University of Houston’s Creative Writing Program in poetry. Her poetry, interviews, reviews, and flash fiction have appeared in Acentos Review, Matter, The San Antonio Express News, The San Antonio Current, and Gulf Coast. She is currently living in Murcia, Spain, where she is translating the works of Madrid poet Óscar Curieses, along with other projects.