Poetry: Elisabeth Houston

Elisabeth Houston studied history at Yale University and later attended Boston University’s MFA program in poetry. She is also a Cave Canem Fellow. She lives in Cambridge and teaches literature to women incarcerated at MCI-Framingham.



There’s a word, warm
in the safe of her mouth.

When she says it — whip
the clear glass of her body
fills crimson and hot.

Poor girl. Lust takes
her Sense and puts it
in a pickle jar.

Whip and wish,
whisper and whisker.

She sputters with shame,
spins and spirals, sssppfff!
then lands, spent
as an empty balloon
on the kitchen floor.

Meanwhile, the milk
holds the moon in a dish,
and the fat brass clock says
Hush, child.