CWI September 2019 Winner

Kaci Skiles Laws is a writer and artist living in Dallas—Fort Worth. Her work has been featured in The Letters Page, Bewildering Stories, Pif Magazine, Unlikely Stories, The American Journal of Poetry, and a few others. She won an award for her poem, This is How it Ends, by NCTC’s English Department and is currently working on a children’s book called The Boogerman. Some of her acoustic music and visual artwork can be viewed on her and her husband’s YouTube channel listed under Kaci and Bryant. Facebook link:

My Fictitious Faberge Bee


I revisit the past in pictures

and think that looking back means

memories never change,


that my cling could never skew

a still frame,

but like a biting hand clasp—

my recall is a dying flash.


It’s my inability to let

childhood elude the fluctuating lens,

to attune to sepia decay,


the over-exposure, the gray-rimmed

ream of descending white,

to ask—Who am I?


I can still make out my heart sweater,

Willie the sheepdog of the litter I chose,

our smiles

under orange descent, red dyes,

rose gold glasses, and the

wisdom in the photo’s whitewash.


Somewhere in a light wave I see

my grandmother catch a process in a scurry,

a mark of eternal progress that fades

but stays a pixel the same,

each piece a fleck of peach. I hold


two reflective surfaces curtseying,

each tendril—dust of us.

Do we keep pictures to remember or forget?


I inherited a bouquet of dandelion parachutes,

the woman who took the photo—

her brooch and pearl white

skin to stick it in


to feel the sharp end.

I want to bend its brittle counterfeit wings,

to remedy my intermittent memory.