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Lay.

 lay hands--
 as in:
   When the priest laid hands upon the woman, doves
   descended and her mouth tanged--her throat, a flame.
or:
   A husband should never lay hands on his wife.
lay for--
as in:
   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.
lay about--
     as in:
   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.
lay aside--
     as in:
   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.
lay away--
     as in:
   When it became difficult to breathe, the woman laid away a large
breath
   and hoped to have it later.
lay siege--
     as in:
   In order to lay siege on the country of her life, the husband
poisoned
   water he himself still drank.
lay out--
     as in:
   The woman wants to lay out an escape plan but has no money
   and a small son.
or:
   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--
     as in:
   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--
     as in:
   Lay to the anchor and stop your boat--even in open water.
lay into--
     as in:
   The husband laid into the woman, but she was lucky not to be laid
into
   like other women she knew whose names became headlines, whose faces
   were X-rayed, whose bellies were scalpeled so the coroner could fish
out
   each lead-bloomed bullet.
lay it on thick--
     as in:
   The woman worries that everyone assumes in order
   to get her husband arrested,
   she has laid it on thick.
lay open--
     as in:
   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
lined
   with ragged tufts of yellow Chamisa in bloom.
lay by--
     as in:
   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?
lay off--
     as in:
   The woman lays off an area for her wifeness, her happiness, and her
      family--
   then blesses the enclosure with flame. 
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Article Details
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Author:Arning, Bonnie
Publication:Prairie Schooner
Article Type:Poem
Date:Jun 22, 2015
Words:572
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