When the priest laid hands upon the woman, doves
descended and her mouth tanged--her throat, a flame.
A husband should never lay hands on his wife.
The husband's eyes laid for the words I'm leaving
to crawl out of a darkness transformed into orbs
of milk and ink and oil.
The woman holsters her son against her hip like a gun as if
the boy could spew bullets--could keep the husband's fists
from laying about her body.
As his hand pinned her neck, the woman lay aside
how she had watched a doctor stitch his thumb, how
they found his blood on a countertop, congealed
like a sleek black animal, and months later, how
the scarred finger would fold gently over hers
and teach her to use chopsticks.
When it became difficult to breathe, the woman laid away a large
and hoped to have it later.
In order to lay siege on the country of her life, the husband
water he himself still drank.
The woman wants to lay out an escape plan but has no money
and a small son.
The woman encounters an old friend working at the courthouse
and is forced to lay out the police report, arrest record,
restraining order, and all her other paperwork of shame.
lay of the land--
After seasons of survey the woman concludes she cannot discern
the lay of the land, as his footprints are always in flux, his hair
greasy then dry, his smile the size of her finger and then
gigantic--suggesting his shadow may extend for miles.
Lay to the anchor and stop your boat--even in open water.
The husband laid into the woman, but she was lucky not to be laid
like other women she knew whose names became headlines, whose faces
were X-rayed, whose bellies were scalpeled so the coroner could fish
each lead-bloomed bullet.
lay it on thick--
The woman worries that everyone assumes in order
to get her husband arrested,
she has laid it on thick.
Lay open the woman's body and find: four lovers, red and blue
siren lights, drafts of the husband's suicide note, a dirt lot
with ragged tufts of yellow Chamisa in bloom.
What if the train lays by as the landscape passes and the blurring
of houses and trees and clouds is a pressure that keeps the train car
compressed into a freightless, stationary woman?
The woman lays off an area for her wifeness, her happiness, and her
then blesses the enclosure with flame.