Elizabeth Scanlon


Most of cooking is waiting for change to occur;
water softens the rice, chicken skin crisping.

My son does his science homework at the table,
questions about physical or chemical properties.

A physical change doesn't alter the substance.
In chemical change, there is a reaction,

a new substance is formed,
energy is either given off or absorbed.

I think of the Novembers of his baby years,
not very long ago.

They were cold.

How is your Anthropocene going?
How many more days of glaring heat do you think you have in you?




It’s insulting to be told not to be sad
when there’s no recourse

Those who lived right before the car
had no idea how utterly everything was about to change

You might live your whole life this way
Sitting in a tree if you’re a tree-climbing people

Waiting for someone to turn you in
if you feel guilty


Elizabeth Scanlon is the Editor of The American Poetry Review. She is the author of Lonesome Gnosis (Horsethief Books, 2017), The Brain Is Not the United States/The Brain Is the Ocean (The Head & The Hand Press, 2016), the title poem of which won a Pushcart Prize, and Odd Regard (Ixnay Press, 2013). Her poems have appeared in many magazines, including Boston Review, Ploughshares, Colorado Review, Crazyhorse, and others.