Liz Robbins

No Shoulder

Perhaps we didn't get away with all we'd thought,

living secondhand in the way of the self-proclaimed
mystics, in the moment, 

which meant one could live for the self if it didn't 
harm the Earth or anyone else, mostly delusion.
The getaway car,

the body--we'd sexed, we'd swallowed and injected,
tamping down our broody selves, heaping the 
plain toast with 

cherry jam. Our minds brushed sleek to curb night
blindness. But it was self-sabotage, for we'd been 
thieves, green stones

of greed glistening from the gap, an undone zip 
in our bags when the car shifted for a turn. For
now we neared 

the end, had to push beyond what'd been easy in
the past, found we were hemmed in by conscience. 
But the memory

that punished relieved us, too; hard to be selfish,
we found, without end, as into children's hands 
we pressed

crisp bills. They who had seen us in pictures, in 
dreams, their ideas of us a different thing than how
we knew ourselves, 

which we had to accept, and did; thinking of our 
small, insufficient gifts to them allowed us to sleep,
if lightly.

Liz Robbins

Liz Robbins' third collection, Freaked, won the 2014 Elixir Press Annual Poetry Award, judged by Bruce Bond; her second collection, Play Button, won the 2010 Cider Press Review Book Award, judged by Patricia Smith. Poems are in recent or forthcoming issues of Beloit Poetry Journal, Cortland Review, Cream City Review, Denver Quarterly, DIAGRAM, Hayden's Ferry Review, and The Kenyon Review. She's an associate professor of creative writing at Flagler College in St. Augustine, FL.