The University of Akron Press | Poem for April 2018

“Finding Out the Lie One Year Later” by Anne Barngrover


The poem “Finding Out the Lie One Year Later” appears in the poetry collection “Brazen Creature” by Anne Barngrover, published by The University of Akron Press as part of the 2018 Akron Series in Poetry. Visit to order a copy of Anne Barngrover’ book and to browse other Akron Series in Poetry books.

The University of Akron Press opens for submissions for the 2018 Akron Poetry Prize, judged by Diane Seuss on April 15. To find out more information and to submit, go to


Finding Out the Lie One Year Later

After my friends and I set off bottle rockets into the trees,
my hair smells like gunpowder, and I don’t want to wash it away.
I am no stranger to impulsivity. How good it felt to seize
a glass of wine and throw it, to use my mouth on him and betray
what little dignity I had left, to make him stay another night
even when he told me that he was bad and I just made him worse.
I can smell his memory on me as I walk past aching streetlights
that hang their necks in shame. Cowards. In my dreams, cursed,
he appears and asks if I still wanted what broke
all those years ago. How can I say I want shrieking lines of fire?
He wants a chimney cowl, a curved stone. I want smoke
thick as color in blue and white and gold. And I’d be a liar
tonight if I didn’t wonder: before fireworks were shaped like flowers,
if one woman ever thought to make them weapons, and how.