Lily Hoang is the author of five books, including A Bestiary (Cleveland State University Poetry Center 2016) and Changing (Fairy Tale Review Press 2008), recipient of a PEN Open Books Award. With Joshua Marie Wilkinson, she edited the anthology The Force of What’s Possible: Writers on the Avant-Garde and Accessibility. She teaches in the MFA program at New Mexico State University, where she is Associate Department Head and Prose Editor for Puerto del Sol


The End of Something Great – I

(from Danielle Pafunda)

I break your face apart and find it is filled with fiberglass lawn darts. Your lips fall onto me: the hot coals burn my wrists. They simmer there until my bones are aircraft cables and I want to take you on a trip. I want you to look out the window. Your poprocks eyes spark against the pane. This is the beginning of our fracture.

The End of Something Great – XVII

(from Khadijah Queen)

You cross the walking trail over the bayou as if to brave a pair of foxes; you are a scavenger scavenger, in search of me. I am hiding by the water, my body stocked inside a tree trunk. I count the rings and centuries of your regrets, for our future that will never develop into a rainforest landscape, destined instead for deserts and cacti. You will never augment my unreciprocated devotion, and I will continue to hide until you tire of the seek. Curtained, I itch against squirreled acorns and shedded fur, reaching the barometer of quit. You stand next to me, put your hand against the tree, release the sheath of socks and shoes. You land in the low water, fast and chocolate lapis lazuli. I watch. You cry, but it is not for me.

The End of Something Great – V

(from Masha Tupitsyn)

If we just—I know the possible is everything. Without solatium, you ventriloquist the someone who vows to never give enough.

The End of Something Great – VI

(from Tim Jones-Yelvington)

Each day, I wear sequins like scabs hot-glued to my skin. Below my encrustations, nothing heals. Bacteria fluoresces on my arms; cancer tremors my blood; you destroy me. The freckles on my shoulders turn into holes: deep, hollow shafts: my body is honeycombed. Take me into your sarcophagus and let us merry together. Even in Hades, writes Sappho, I am with you.

To read more of The End of Something Great, pre-order it via Birds of Lace’s 2016 Kickstarter campaign.