5 Poems by Erin Slaughter

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5 Poems by Erin Slaughter

Five Haikus for the Fall of Icarus 

Pan to the mountains
cut to the writhing city
slow fade out on spring 

The tip of his tongue
flicking at molten sunlight
cypress blossom sweet 

Listen to this fact:
Icarus was just a man
falling out of frame 

Hopeless descending;
the herder was the only
soul who noticed him 

Like breath. Acceptance.
On ships, children closed their eyes.
The sea kept churning. 

L’appel du vide

Tell me how the dust motes that glitter in the light 

want to gnaw on our bones. Tell me about how stars are just rips in the black skin of the sky, and most of them are already dead, anyway. Tell me how God lives in trees, and in books, and that He won’t be mad if we re-gift the raggedy sweaters He gives us, 

that we’ll all live to see this town go up in flames. Tell me how a grave isn’t a hundred miles an hour into a brick wall, it’s more like the forests I’m always climbing through in my dreams, 

and really, Death is the lover you’ve been waiting for all your Life. 

Fear and Love in Three Movements 

Once he sat and looked
from one face to the next, his eyes
like pieces of a broken plate.
“Good morning. Were
you looking for me?” 

I heard him talking
over his shoulder, those eyes
hard and pale and reckless
quizzical and maybe contemptuous
even then. He turned,
looked at them again, not knowing
what to do exactly. 

And it might have
been a good thing that they could not
watch him sleep. 

Ocean Eyes 

It’s always raining
            in your ocean eyes, and your face
takes on the weather. 

                             As the gray mist stirs and rocks collide,
                             some versions of us
                             breathe still, unsure breaths 

under wintery skies.
             I watch the waves crash
from iris to shore. 

Sunday, Thick Noon 

Sunday, thick noon creeps
down the windowless hallway
like molasses, sugary sick
like a cough syrup punch
in the gut. Like nuclear waste 

seeping under field-lounging
barn floorboards,
or whatever—yeah, yeah;
a teenager’s tongue clicks out
bubblegum splatter onto the sidewalk. 

Sunday, quarter-til-three
your veins are lead, concrete, asphalt
blazing. People in other countries go home
or to the pub, their evening a shuffle
of goodhearted indeterminate noises,
stumbling towards
“half-past”, “half-till”; The hourglass
half full or empty. It depends 

on who you are, the color of the room,
what you take to drink. Most things
do, you know: wind and dance around
themselves and put themselves to bed
like dutiful children.
Whispers under floral-smelling sheets.
Lullaby stories and freshly shampooed
hair. Everything eating everything
in the end. 


Erin Slaughter has a BA in Creative Writing from the University of North Texas. After a brief rendezvous with publishing in the Pacific Northwest, she is currently an MFA student at Western Kentucky University, and works as the graduate assistant for Steel Toe Books. She is the head editor of Lavender Bluegrass: LGBT Writers on the South , an anthology forthcoming from KY Story in 2016. Her fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction has been published in The Harpoon Review , Drunk in a Midnight Choir , GRAVEL , and 101 Words , among others. She lives in Bowling Green, Kentucky with her two monochrome cats, Amelia and Cecil. 

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