Lilyanne Kane is a butch non-binary lesbian poet and educator based in
San Francisco (USA). They hold an MFA in Poetry from the Mississippi
University for Women. Their work most recently appears in Mojave He[Art]
and Sonder Midwest. They can be found on twitter @PluralFloral.

Self-Portrait as the Black Widow That Bit My Father Thrice

A Springtime sky's eye droops low, lashes of light
shining down through rubbery avocado tree leaves.
Father whistles, clearing cobwebs from a garage
window with a rag. Small mourner with barbed red,
pedipalps bare in defense of her egg clutch woven
sack of unsung pearls, spider stitch-tight. She kisses
venom thrice up his arm. Exoskeleton shards and a
stain of inkblot blood smears beneath Father's palm.


When his fever blossoms he insists on private
recovery. How Mama's stomach boils seeing
him lock himself in Irish hand-cuffs as she tries
to shepherd him into the car. Ashen branches
of polluted veins sprout forth from Father's
sores, reaching to touch to clutch his one heart.
Yet he remains as a dormant volcano for two
days before the pain collapses his resignation.


Praying like a fly wound in white, Father curls
into himself in the backseat while Mama rides
the clutch and jams her heel into the gas pedal.
Soon the kiss of antivenin from an ER needle
will cool Father's molten temperature. Back
at home, my child self inspects the crime
scene. Cobwebs have been wiped away, but
there is a layer of dust still yet untouched.

His Mothers' Hands are as Speckled as Pebbles

Soft as desert rain, falling
twice as frequent, kneading
flour-dusted Phyllo dough,

My biggest fear,
she confides in me,
is that my children
go hungry.

It is important
to make the bread
to break the bread
together, as family.

She presses sandy dough
into my hands. My elbows
jerk back, just a twitch, &
her grip tightens around my wrists.

Ode to Velvet

The velvet ballerina slid her down
feather arm around my shoulders as
we ditched dance class to go smoke.

In the parking lot, I traded her a pack
of cigs to teach me how to kiss. My
fingers snagged in the curve of her

smile as my guts coiled into writhing
onyx snakes. She tasted fresh as river
water licked from two cupped palms.

Velvet paused to meet my eyes, mouth.
I filled her mouth with yes, wove my
fingers through her chain stitch braids.

Her teeth closed around my lip, & I
discovered the joyful taste of pain.

Back to Front.