White Whale Review: An Online Literary Magazine Untitled Document
Liz N. Clift
Liz N. Clift lives in Ames, Iowa. Her work has appeared in: Hunger Mountain, Green Mountains Review, CICADA, and The Raven Chronicles, among others.

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Liz N. Clift

The Melt


On the ice steps beneath the sheer sheen

of mañana blending into ayer, you look

me in the eye from 200 miles away y dice

                              ‘Estoy Muerto.’

I want to pull the goat from this, a sturdy, shaggy

snow-colored thing with burnt yellow eyes

and teeth to match, the type

that limbers across boulders the way you do. I want to say

                Aren’t we all?

but instead, let the story stand.

Estoy muerto y el mundo es un lugar hermoso.


We drive toward the horizon, blindfolded,

praying to the god

of maybe-things’ll-get-better.

When we lift our faces and pull off the colored bandanas

que obscura las estrellas y nuestros ojos, we see

we’ve stopped at   Awesome Corner   and I want

to bury my face    against the distended stomach

of a Milking Shorthorn bawling in the distance,

absorb its cowness. Tengo lagrimas inexplicadas.


Liz N. Clift

But, I slip on bloated bodies

of gusanos that fought to die where the world

could bear witness. You kneel next to me,

and say,   ‘My brother told my mom and I

he was raped, at 13,

                              by another family member.

In Washington. We were playing cards. I don’t know

what my mom told my dad.’


You remind me esperanza means hope

only in English

that really it means waiting.


On the ice steps beneath the sheer

sheen of mañana blending into ayer, the sky somersaults

and leaves me filled with the feeling

of too much whiskey, or just enough

to wish for peligroso u por los menos, un tiempo pocito to trust falling

in love, or even just   to practice trust.

We got caught

in a downpour de lluvia

y unos maldiciones de tu padre.



Liz N. Clift

We ate oranges

               and he was 500 miles away,

present only in your stories. More gusanos

oozed out of the ground to drown.


Maybe we were drowning then.

Me gusta andando en la lluvia and also sitting with you

in that past present memory. We didn’t know

how we’d learn

to associate oranges with anger and later, apples

stolen from orchards, with the night we’d sleep

in a barn that caught fire around us.









Copyright © Liz N. Clift. White Whale Review, issue 3.1

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