Poetry by Laurie Kolp


All night the nightmare 
          will taunt. It will haunt 
the sleeper with death 
          songs thrashing to off-
beat redemption.

          Inhaling stagnant air, her
breath labors. Pregnant 
          trees thump against 
the gutter, erratic wind 
          a shrill, a gust. Thunder 

exhales like chronic smoker
          coaxing, volume 
maximized, the clank 
          of bones beneath 
her bed rattled 
          opposition. Lightning 

flashes, eyelids lift to face,  
          tempest thrusts 
shadows on gray wall, 
          a scream lost 
in evening storms.

Sometimes It’s Best to Take a Detour

I’ve been down this road since then, 
have completed her course 
pulled-over sober 
judged on straight line— 
so why is it so hard this time?
I try to think my way through it,
try to picture myself elsewhere
but I’m not good at directions.
If I pause and marvel
the carve of her seduction might
tempt me to take a wrong turn. 
There is no telling how long 
I’d wander in toxic remorse
lose everything, maybe die.
I reach my shaky hands 
toward the sky.
I never want to forget 
the heavy regret of one sip—
can there ever be just one? 
I am stuck to this seat, I will wait 
until the craving passes.

Laurie Kolp, author of Upon the Blue Couch and Hello, It's Your Mother, has poems in Stirring, Whale Road Review, Rust + Moth, Front Porch Journal, and more. An avid runner and lover of nature, Laurie lives and teaches in Southeast Texas.