Lilies Strewn by P M F Johnson

    their first child killed herself,
  the cranes studied all the right books, heads trembling
each night as though struggling against some 
ash-covered morsel working its way 
  down the throat. They 
 treated their remaining 
daughter the best they could, 
following the advice of experts: 
staying tough, no treats unearned, 
hoping for some sky-road past the 
pain. Now, standing in the hospital 
room before their last daughter's 
feathered husk, pool-deep in the 
 marsh of overdose, they wonder
 if some brutal god is out 
 calling back daughters: a
 deity of empty bottles 
 and injections, fisher 
  for skinny girls.
  The mist erases.
   They have only 
   losses: flowers 
   floating off; 
   rotting memories 
   of anger and 
   deception; the
   faces of grandchildren 
P M F Johnson
P_M_F_Johnson-PMF_Johnson300_opt (1)P M F Johnson’s poetry appears in The Threepenny Review, The Evansville Review, Nimrod International Journal, North American Review, Modern Haiku, Frogpond, and others. His four fantasy novels are available on Amazon. He lives in Minnesota with his wife, the writer Sandra Rector. His e-mail is