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For the Former THings Have Passed Away

S.T. Eleu

IMAGE:  Benjamin Erlandson

S.T. Eleu(they/them) has been a musician, teacher, and consummate Vulcan. Raised in Vegas then exiled to Chicago, autism is their default universe, and though sparsely populated, it is a glorious place to escape to, write in, and display an impressive collection of action figures.

– In memoriam

Julia Mae

wiped the blood of her father


from the floor tiles

from the mint green refrigerator

from the bullet hole in the paneling

from her one and only checkered button day dress

from her worn and tired and spent and frayed


rag doll


because her mother told her to


no sense

in making the police do extra work.



stared at a grizzled man’s chaw-stained cowboy boots

as old money changed older hands


$50 for a 15-year-old bride


because her family needed

one less mouth to feed


and society in perpetuity

and women

and such.



dodged fists, psychological warfare, machine-gunned



words of one who thought himself King

words of a King of Kings

words of The King


return to sender, address unknown

no such person, no such zone.



rocked in her chair

crocheting and frogging

crocheting and frogging

crocheting and smoking and frogging

crocheting and smoking and drinking and frogging

crocheting and smoking and drinking and tripping and frogging


and when the demons left

gathered her children and taught them


how to read and write

how to pray and plead

how to wield a Bible

how to curse


the law

the sun




dragged herself across state lines one

winter’s noon

and divorced the desert


and its fool’s gold

and its scorpions and vultures

and its stans and ralphs and kens



in absentia.



emerged from exile

secondhand store polished


hand in hand with a new old man

on his own path of redemption and healing


a family forged

on equal terms.



hugged a prodigal child


with the force of a thousand mama bears

no cancer could diminish




after decades of absence


the door opened

and out flew all former things


for it was the age of healing...

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