Whether to Thin the Lilies

One day we leave the city for its limits

To chase long-rested leaves off family graves


And let the children play among the mausoleums.

We are not all farmers anymore—


At first hands fumble with a spade into dark

Beds of pioneers whose stones stare back our name.


Let the lilies go? We are but idle strangers

Let us thin them and find each other

—Emily Stout



About the Author

Emily Stout is a graduate of the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana English Program. She works nights as a registered nurse in the oncology deparment of a Midwestern hospital.