Ellaraine Lockie







Clean-Up in Rwanda


Outside the church, bodies stack waist high

Draining fluids flood ankles as you wade

Only bee hum and birdsong to ask why


You can’t because maggots, bloat and flies

have conspired in your throat to blockade

Outside the church, bodies stack waist high


You can’t breathe either, as there’s no good-bye

to the putrefied stench that invades

Only bee hum and birdsong to ask why


Dogs cleaned first with teeth like Samurai

Trench rats assemble in banquet brigades

Outside the church, bodies stack waist high


Cows, pigs and chickens meander by

corpses in a role reversal parade

Only bee hum and birdsong to ask why


Everything on the ground wrapped awry

The bombshell of shock a silent grenade

Outside the church, bodies stack waist high

Only bee hum and birdsong to lullaby




The Tour                                                                                                                                                        


A butterfly hovers over wildflowers

in front of Sachsenhausen

Wings beating manic

Much like my heart

But its body immobile

Perhaps like mine

suspended in uncertainty


The decision to enter obscured

by images of wings torn from torsos

And worker bees crushed

by Klinkerwerk bricks


Crimes against humanity widened

to include the insect world

With selected species believed to be

biologically inferior

Beside Jews, Jehovah’s Witnesses

and homosexuals


History inherited through insect instinct

Their ancestors oblivious to textbook facts

That were erased by entertainment found

in Sophie’s Choice and Schindler’s List


The pain prescribed in fiction

Surface deep, short lived

and far removed from the reality

waiting behind the butterfly


Where I stare indecision still

Held in bondage by my make-believe

excuse of a tourist trap tour

turning atrocity into spectator sport

And by nightmares that might

animate off the movie screen


While truths of facing my fear

of the hideous in human nature

flutter unaware over the wildflowers

And exit with the butterfly




War and Peace on the Prairie


Already wind waltzes cinders

like india ink snowflakes around the silos

Its hot breath smelling of burned grass

and wheat baked before its time

A weathervane rooster by the barn

points in the direction of sure disaster

And spurs the farm family

to wet flour sacks with well water


The neighbor from the next homestead

Who hasn’t spoken to them

since the court case over property lines

Talks now in spits and sprays from his water truck

to the dry heat of August

on the urgent end of the farm


Beyond this swamp of insufficiency

the farmer torches an army of weeds and wheat

Commands it to buck the wind

and slow-march its suicide mission

The same wind lifts the oncoming enemy’s

cloak of smoke to expose the yellow front line

that gandy-dances to a jagged roar


The confrontation engulfs a coulee

where willows flare high

Burning twigs shoot over

the blackened path on both sides

Rosebushes and wild currents snap crackle and pop

Until all that remains are charred naked arms

impotent in the wind


Hay bales smolder in the field

like oversized cigarettes

And smoke from a lone cottonwood stump

spirals ribbons over the desolation

The neighbor tips the bill on his hat

toward the farmer before he heads home

The sky bends down to kiss the horizon

And the wind turns its back to the blushing sun




Coffee House Confessions by Ellaraine Lockie
Silver Birch Press




Wild as in Familiar by Ellaraine Lockie
Finishing Line Press










Ellaraine Lockie is a widely published and awarded poet, nonfiction book author and essayist.  Her recent work has been awarded the 2013 Women’s National Book Association’s Poetry Prize, Best Individual Collection from Purple Patch magazine in England for Stroking David’s Leg, winner of the San Gabriel Poetry Festival Chapbook Contest for Red for the Funeral and The Aurorean’s Chapbook Spring Pick for Wild as in Familiar.  Her tenth chapbook, Coffee House Confessions, was released in 2013 from Silver Birch Press.  Ellaraine teaches poetry workshops and serves as Poetry Editor for the lifestyles magazine, Lilipoh.  She has just completed judging the 2013 Reuben Rose Poetry Competition for Voices Israel and the Tom Howard/Margaret Reid Poetry Contests for Winning Writers.

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