"Available/Mohawk" (front) Marta Lee  acrylic on panel 12" X 9"

"Available/Mohawk" (front)
Marta Lee

acrylic on panel
12" X 9"


My Big Mistake was Marrying the Suburban Grey Squirrel

and then buying that home
in a filthy cottonwood
under high-voltage power lines.
Yes, initially we were happy—
the world a handful of peanuts
left on a patio lawn chair.

Other creatures moved in
around us:  raccoons driven
to get the best of every tool shed,
vain deer nibbling for some reason
only the red petunias
and possums who were pointless
to get to know because they died
hours later crossing the roads.
Too much heartache, I thought.
Too little space

I was deep asleep
when my husband finally snapped.
He woke me with his twitching
shadow tail and turning pages, maps
unfolded, small jars, hard-candies,
click of calculator buttons. 

He left me undecipherable
gnaw marks on our threshold
which I sometimes believe
spell out his promise to return,
though he’s been gone so long
the acorns we forgot we buried
have burst oak saplings
through the beauty bark bern.

Katy E. Ellis grew up in Renton, Washington and is the author of two chapbooks, Urban Animal Expeditions (Dancing Girl Press) and Gravity (Yellow Flag Press), which was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. She studied writing at the University of Victoria in British Columbia, Canada and at Western Washington University. Her poetry appears in a number of literary journals including Literary Mama, MAYDAY Magazine, Calyx, BorderlandsTexas Poetry Review, and the Canadian journals PRISM InternationalGrain and Fiddlehead. Her fiction has appeared in Burnside Review and won Third Place in the Glimmer Train super-short fiction contest. Katy co-curates WordsWest Literary series, a monthly literary event in West Seattle, where she lives in with her husband and daughter.