Fear No Evil (Prepare a Table)

Someone at the party said

Willie Nelson died today,


sudden invocation of his sudden

ghost. And Maw-Maw singing on the road again

and Willie, who had outlived her,

rolling down eternal highway, baptized

by salt water and yellow beer.


Elastic hours later, we learned

it was a hoax and like a mosquito sipping

the same bite Aubrey asked So

is Willie alive? Is Willie

alive? Do we know if Willie is

alive? I might have answered

with hot oil. One day

I’ll slide mothballs

from my father’s dresser, inherit

my mother’s cast-iron but

until then—a dream like

lavender oil burning

on an unsteady shelf:

my sister listening beside me to bells

and banjos in the valley. We hold Holy

Ghost hands, exhume neglected records,

play them with new mosquito thirst.


Elizabeth Theriot grew up in Louisiana and earned her undergraduate degree from University of New Orleans. She currently lives in Tuscaloosa, where she is an MFA candidate at the University of Alabama. Elizabeth works with the Black Warrior Review as an Assistant Poetry Editor and teaches freshman composition. Her other publications can be found online in Ellipses, Alyss, Pretty Owl, and Requited.