"Elicit" by Clifford Parody

“Elicit” was originally published in Forklift, Ohio

I am the stretch of easement
beneath a stretcher beneath
your broken body, your weight,
and I hate that the last hand you felt
was gloved in blue latex, attached
to a man who detached himself
from the boy who lay bleeding
before him. I am the minivan
and the pilot, frame and feet,
I am the kids in the backseat,
how I scream, how I scream,
how my  body tenses, my
tires screech, we meet. I am
the green light so quick
to turn yellow, I am the aluminum,
the seat, I am the pedals
beneath your feet, how we
creak turning tires that took you
and took you, I am the backpack
you threw on the floor as you walked
through the door, I am the door
and the floor, I am the school bus
that carried you home, I am the school,
I am the bell that carried you from room to room,
I am the bedroom you woke in, the bed
where you slept, I am a flash card
on the side of the road, weeks later,
stumbled upon, staggering stoned:
to draw forth— to bring out from the source—
I am picking it up, I am thinking,
and the only word I can think of is theft.


Clifford Parody holds an MFA from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and currently lives in Lakeland, Florida, where he writes for the local newspaper, co-runs the record label Swan City Sounds, and hangs out with his wife, daughter and dog. He is the recipient of the 2015 Noel Callow Award from the Academy of American Poets and his work has appeared in Forklift, Ohio, Backlash Journal, Drunk In A Midnight Choir, Terminus Magazine, and The Greensboro Review, among others. His first chapbook, Because I Did Not Know What To Do is forthcoming this fall via The Altar Collective.

Back To Issue Forty-Two


  1. Lora Jackson

    I can not get this poem out of my mind. I read it several days ago and was moved by the imagery it evoked. Each day since I read it, I have found myself thinking of the words and it makes me want to cry. The accompanying picture of the concrete with the rivulet of blood is etched in my head. I have no literary background and, therefore, no basis on which to claim the knowledge to make an assessment. However, if the purpose of poetry is to elicit an emotional response, this poem nails it.


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