optimum exposure by Liz Napieralski

Cinco de Mayo, the city is drowning

in tequila and the first rainfall

in months, and she is home on the couch,

cupping a book like an injured baby bird,

pen and notebook just within reach and

and she wishes someone would

take a secret photo

of this moment:

tired eyelashes

and fingers like piano wire, the arc

of peacock-green, the whole of her

a poem, incorrectly translated.

The desert drenched in the sleepy

sweat of creosote and cedar, and

she doesn’t miss the street scene, she

knows her heart as cryptozoological creature:

they have theorized its existence,

but it always shies just out of view

of the lens.


Liz Napieralski Liz Napieralski lives in the high desert of Santa Fe, New Mexico, and has finally resigned herself to the fact that she’s not leaving anytime soon. If you were to steal her purse on any given day, you’d find a book or two, a whole lot of pens that she’s not that nice about sharing, and a notebook shamed by all the scraps of paper she inevitably writes on instead. (And not much cash. So don’t steal her purse. It’s not worth it.) Liz has worked as an editor and writer for Northern Arizona’s Mountain Living Magazine, FlagLive!, Santa Fean, and THE magazine. This is her first published creative work, not counting that poem from elementary school that made it into her hometown paper.

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