All Accounts and Mixture: Poetry by Elizabeth Lindsey Rogers

Alcatraz, Mars

They call us a citadel
in a blueless bay—

singular, like 
a snowglobe’s stark

figurine: grottos washed 
white as moons’  winter 

stomachs, something 
chiseled out of rib.


What they dreamed up 
again, in that old Roman 

way: the ruined cake 
of the Coliseum 

reborn, forever
in the bulwark’s grip.


The air here wants 
to close us in. O riprap 

memory, you are heavy
with salt.  I can’t breathe 

in this birdless bay.
When it comes to cruelty,

they are always wrong—
the old and new 

masters, the same keys 
cluttering the ring. Hear

the men and women kept 
in waxing, separate hives. 

On my pillow, I leave
a soap-carved likeness 

of my face,
locks of my own 

clipped hair. 
With a fork and spoon

I slit the roof. 
My leaving shadow

is blue-black, ragged 
as the folds of a wing.


Fearing, again, the swiftness
of my body,

the guard fires 
from his crow’s nest—

each shot useless, 
muted as  a feather

would be, in this air—


tell him I married a wave, 
broke through

each cloud ceiling. Gasped 
as I hoped 

for heaven’s thin, 
something blue 

above the ladder. This gunmetal 
smell on my hands.


Lolita’s Mars Rover Ballad

So this dune buggy trip
leaves me all rotten
inside. I’m sick of learning
landforms: dried-up lakebeds,

sore in their salts, all my wants
under haze and burned-up rubber.
Between winks of sleep, I see
canyons in split pastels

(my half-eaten jawbreakers),
pink clouds drifting above, bored
as a flock of sheep. I’ve re-counted
my bottle caps, pressed my lips

to glossy magazines. I taught myself
how to peel bananas with my feet.
So what? It’s a free country. I think.
But all time is stuck. I’m twelve

now and forever. I turn and turn and turn
but there’s nowhere else to go.

O Wow. More desert. Motels
crop up like mushrooms,
then poof. Long-legged,
neon signs erase themselves

behind the ugly dust devils.
Dress me up as another Dorothy,
braids, I guess, and dirty blue
gingham. Trade my **** again

for something made of candy.
A frontier ought to be exciting
things: cities made of windows,
secret red rock caves. Right now

I want more records. To get
myself a dog. Own a hothouse
where the sugarcane sways
like a bunch of girls dancing to the radio.


Elizabeth Lindsey Rogers is the author of CHORD BOX (University of Arkansas Press, 2013), finalist for the Lambda Literary Award.  Her poems have appeared in Boston Review, The Missouri Review, FIELD, Crazyhorse, Washington Square Review, Guernica, and many others.  A 2012-2014 Kenyon Review fellow in poetry, she now lives in New Orleans, where she teaches at Tulane University.