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Ellaraine Lockie  (email)


About the Poet:

In the last year or so, Ellaraine has received a poetry residency at Centrum in Port Townsend, WA, her eleventh Pushcart Prize nomination, the Writecorner Press Poetry Prize, the Skysaje Poetry Prize, the Deane Wagner Poetry Prize, the Elizabeth R. Curry Prize and finalist status for the Mudfish Poetry Prize, the Greensboro Award in Poetry, the Joy Harjo Poetry Award and the Creekwalker Poetry Prize.  Her recently released publications are Mod Gods and Luggage Straps, a poetry/art broadside from BrickBat Revue and her fifth chapbook, Blue Ribbons at the County Fair, a collection of first-place contest winning poems from PWJ Publishing.



Divine Rights


Big Sandy's cemetery

skirts the west end of town


Flare of hill hosts the dead

and holds court over the flat prairie


Until the easterly Bear's Paw Mountains

overrule with their supreme power

any panorama in a hundred miles 


Souls bask in sunlit appreciation

unknown to the flesh of farm life


They watch with detached retinas

relatives embroider the fabric of their beds

with threads from silk flowers


Respect for the dead as alive as winter wheat 

that grows around the graveyard's edge


First published in Poetry Depth Quarterly



History Talks in a Boneyard 


It began as Boot Hill

Separated by the town from Protestant 

and Catholic cemeteries

From their public-park-like preservation


Here heathens and the impoverished 

lie eternally under wild grasses 

weeds, sagebrush and gopher holes 

Corralled by a barbed wire fence

whose missing links create a gate


A few cement block headstones 

as decomposed as the bodies beneath 

whisper identities in broken English 

kanji and hiragana

But the list at the library speaks 

loud and clear enough to be heard over

three generations of neglect


With names of Chang, Tanisaki

Cloudy Buffalo, Fugimoto, Mutoo

Nakamoto, Flying Man, Jones, O'Neal

Kirschweng, McGrew and Monteath

Labels of Chinaman, Japanese, Indian 

Poor House, Breed, Half-breed, White, Negro 

French, Irish, German, Scotch and American 


Causes of death as direct as the crows

that fly above the burial ground

As socially unsheltered as Montana cowboys

Suicide, alcoholism, gunshot wounds

murder, horse and railroad accidents

amputation, scalding, spasms

exhaustion and unknown


The name became Mt. Hope

A plea answered four times a year

when a Hill County worker

mows the gophers' pasture

The boneyard guarded by an occasional 

Chinese zodiac animal gravestone

guillotined by vandals or time



One for the Montana Road


White crosses scatter the roadsides

on two-laned prairie highways

in this unbridled state

Memorials to lives lost

Obliterated by alcohol driven cars

plastered pick-up truck drivers

and barely enforced speed limits

Montana's independent spirit 



White crosses aren't choosy

about whom they claim

on glacier mountain passes

Tombstones substituting for

babies, best friends, grandparents

Generations of innocents

swallowed by bottles of booze

Downed by DUI owners


White crosses bear witness

on graveled country roads

to the buried who bought the farms

Testimonials to suicides

and manslaughters 

Vigiled with flowers by loved ones

Viewed by motorists as billboards  

Advertisements for prevention

Slogans that deter decisions to have

one for the Montana road


Previously published in the Pacific Coast Journal 



Scene of the Crime


I see them from my driver's license

on top of the garbage-can overflow

Their five, two and one-year-old paper faces

next to me in the trash

Taking in the rust stains around the sink

and the yellow smell from the urinal

Their innocence autonomous in this back alley

sex shop bordered bathroom


Footpaths of toilet paper 

map the underlying filth

My leather wallet lays forsaken on the floor 

A splayed animal flattened 

by the hit and run of a thief

Who lingered long enough to strip the flesh

and discard anything not consumable


I watched my cash pay its way into his pocket

The contribution of credit cards 

and Christmas gift certificates

All through the eyes of a DMV saint 

But as he finger-stuttered smudges

over the photos of my grandchildren

These eyes narrowed to arrows

that pierced the paper with permission 

on a license to kill


Previously published in Presa



Edge of Night


Black with blue swollen veins

He sits in stained denim

on the train station bench


Elbows on spread-eagled knees

Sparrow hands on head hung low

A plastic produce bag for a hat


pulled over his ears

Preserving the rising heat

The fragile lobes from frostbite


As winter eats its way

into the San Francisco Bay

with butcher knife teeth


Previously published in Taproot Literary Review