News Poetry: Bedtime Story for Denver

Once again upon too many times, a girl
was stolen from her family and delivered

to men. They leered, breathed fire down her neck,
nodded to one another—right shape,

right size. They tucked her into the darkness,
settled onto her the way they would an armchair.

They made themselves comfortable, offered her
to guests. When her surface grew seedy and torn,

they turned her over. Her hooded eyes caught
slivers of bedroom and alley, tattered asphalt.

Fists like pocked moons. Others came
to break open the door, but she didn’t feel

saved. Even good men had teeth that glittered.
It would be a long time before she could sleep,

accustomed though she was to lying down.

Photo credit: Joe St.Pierre, Creative Commons, Flickr 

Elizabeth Oxley is a graduate of Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. She road-tripped west several years ago to make her home in the Rockies. Her poetry has been published in literary journals such as Peregrine and Ruminate, and she was the 2015 third-place winner in the United Kingdom Poetry Society’s international poetry competition. Elizabeth makes her home online at