Kaci Skiles Laws

“I’ve known the bulbous root bodies that look like familiar babies
and ginger. They say love.”

A Way Back Home


My Writing

“We look at the world once in childhood. The rest is memory.” —Louise Gluck

Photo Credits: Kaci Skiles Laws

Recently Published and Forthcoming

Tiny Frights

April 2022: Hunt

“…he shows a row of rotted teeth and whispers, “Tag, I’m it!”

Piker Press

I Tell Him I Will Never Eat Him

“He doesn’t know I want to feel powerful too, beautiful, magical. I tell him I will never eat him because he is special. I want to be good. Halloween is for the child that dies inside us all.”

Continue The Voice

October 31, 2021, Issue 13: Pumpkin Eater

“Our cabin is discreet, tucked thirty minutes outside of town, off a notorious highway that eats small animals, sometimes people, past the cemetery with the glowing tombstone. There are horror stories in the hills east of here, less than ten miles, the killing table under the shade of trees.”

Impspired

Issue 14, Volume 7 2021-2022: Good God

“…in life we are tourists
of our shame our life finds us out”

Lanugo

“She put my name on a bracelet
between some small red hearts;
the last letter was missing;
she could not find—I.”

The Rye Whiskey Review

October 2021: homemade razor blades

“we outgrow pain / remember”

https://ryethewhiskeyreview.blogspot.com/2021/10/homemade-razor-blades-by-kaci-skiles.html?m=1

Nota Bene Zine

October 2021, Issue 4

Polemical Zine

Fall 2021, Issue 17: Rio Vista

“My second memory was grief,
stillness, my church shoes
sinking in mud from the cloudburst…”

My Fictitious Faberge Bee

“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.”

Maythorn Magazine

September 2021, Issue 2: Pig Latin

“Us. Going like loose seeds. Different
and all the same. Nine years sloughing.
Becoming dust on a fan blade. Too high
to see. I do. I see her.

Lothlorien Poetry Journal

July 2021: Dissociates

“I always tried to save something
helpless, a stray cat. It’s why
I hated ruined things, the word ungrateful,
held onto them, made wishes.”

The Suicide Forest

“It felt most unnatural; it wasn’t, because it was of nature, heavy and dense. It was a volcanic headache creeping, a headband after it’s been on too long, forgotten.”

Emma

“She says, “Cancer kills you.”
I ask, “Are you sad?”

Masquerade

“I don’t have to smile.
Wearing black plastic
is a skip. No one expects
anything of its parted lisp,
its socially acceptable
expression, fixed.”

Ripples

“Orange was limp like a noodle,
would become a violent tremor.

A year ago, he lost his left eye,
this week he lost the other;
it seems they faded away to
someplace inside his brain.”

https://lothlorienpoetryjournal.blogspot.com/2021/07/five-haunting-poems-by-kaci-skiles-laws.html?m=1

Imposter: A Poetry Journal

Summer 2021: Telephone and a Tommy Gun

“The way people look at you when you say Crohn’s; you start saying—Chronic—not -cles of Narnia. Not Mary Jane. Auto-immune. Inflammation from mouth to anus.”

https://www.impostorlit.com/laws

Dead Skunk Lit

Eugene

“Eugene spent hours mowing and doing odd jobs for my father that day, yet every time I tried to spy on him from the house, he was one step ahead of me, disappearing into the barn, ducking behind our well, eyes down at the ground as he busied himself. That night once I knew Eugene had left, I couldn’t shake the feeling that he was still there.”

https://www.deadskunkmag.com/eugenekaciskileslaws

Sunday Mornings at the River

Covid Anthology: A Letter in Quarantine

“No one is prepared; I don’t believe
a savior is coming. I’ll never convince anyone
of this. We never believed in the Flying Spaghetti Monster, at least not in a literal sense. I guess we were always Pagans; we just didn’t know there was a name for it.”

Horror Sleaze Trash

Summer 2021: Dance

“I wanted to go home. Nicole would say, it’s fun. Dance.”

https://horrorsleazetrash.com/2021/06/21/kaci-skiles-laws/

Dumpster Fire Press: Voices from Fire

Summer 2021: Ghosts

“In the daylight I did normal things; I cooked and cleaned. I fed Mom. I grew resentful and didn’t know what to call it or why, so I asked my psychologist; I witnessed deadly nightshade sprouting up like veins, violet-blue and violent, buds that never should have come at a time so cold, afterthoughts, swallowing the house.”

https://dumpsterfirepress.com/2021/06/22/voices-from-the-fire-kaci-skiles-laws/

Intangible Magazine

Issue 2: Thing

“She’d try tinctures to kill it, some herbs and oils, silver and monkey’s blood; though it wasn’t a goiter, she wished it was, never telling anyone.”

Door Is A Jar

Fall 2021: Phantom Fangs

“We thought we were dying. Scarred,
we were afraid of being disfigured
and different.”

Nothing

“I worry and twist and chew my blanket; I digest it in intervals; no one notices.”

Paperback: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09F16LYFV/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1630531654&sr=1-1
Ebook:
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09F6XWKPV/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1630531654&sr=1-1

Fahmidan Journal

Crohn’s Disease

“…and if they do ask and I give them an honest answer, they wish they hadn’t…”

https://www.fahmidan.net/issue-6

Outlander Zine

May 2021: Girl

“lay yourself out Pig bite the apple hard…”

Crohn’s Not Crones

“I have an incurable disease that if I say the name everyone looks at me like I’ve morphed into a pile of dog shit…”

Emma

“She sways and dances at the question…”

Levitate

May 2021: The War

“I wanted it to be a distortion, a lie old people tell to scare us, not because they’re scared.”

https://levitatemagazine.org/

Triggerfish Critical Review

July 2021, Issue 26: Lint

“You can go leave a review that says, I didn’t listen, but be warned; these towels are the pits, will leave lint in your pits.

Harbor Review

January 2021: Coats of Lamb

“I feared for my mother’s life as the snow fell, careless, the breast cancer cell floated into a lymph node.”

https://www.harbor-review.com/winter-6

Fragmented Lines

January 2021: Everyone Melts

“He didn’t have to warn me about the thing in the red barn. I’d unlatched and opened the door enough times to let the rush of musty wood invade my nose and long enough to let light in. The shadows at the back were black and long holding a circular saw. It felt ominous to me, like the spinning wheel in Sleeping Beauty, with its rusty hungry teeth.”

Cajun Mutt Press

January 2021: Father

“Only a sociopath could’ve come up with both invention and condemnation. Is it always what you say it is, Father?

https://www.google.com/amp/s/cajunmuttpress.wordpress.com/2021/01/01/cajun-mutt-press-featured-writer-01-01-21/amp/

Capsule Stories

Winter 2020 Edition: Dear Winter

“I hesitate to leave messages at the beep, like a tree adjusting to the sudden drop and envelope of arctic air, at the sound of her voice.”

https://capsulestories.com/winter-2020-edition/

Written Tales

October 29, 2020: The Fall of Sybil

“I reflect what is left of her teeth grinding to dust. Her stiff arms hinge in and out like a praying mantis as she balls up another towel and scrubs. Her hair falls loose around her face.”

https://www.writtentales.com/the-fall-of-sybil/

Terror House Magazine

October 2020: Collect

“I wanted to be a gypsy curse. A drowning on dry land.”

Morty Horse

“… lizards hurry over the cool curvature of his face to something that can hold warmth, the crevices in the concrete.”

No Basura

“We condone illegal dumping
because boundaries give us
anxiety. Google says we have codependence disease.”

“Collect,” “Morty Horse,” and “No Basura”

Anti-Heroin Chic

October Issue, 2020: Human

“… you won’t know you, you’ll divide yourself into slivers of pie, eat every piece and pretend you didn’t eat the whole thing…”

http://heroinchic.weebly.com/blog/poetry-by-kaci-skiles-laws

Kiss My Poetry

Dark Chocolate

“I gawk at him sketching his hands while his ears pour wire.”

Dark Chocolate

Rough Cut Press

Issue 16: Green Is All I Ever Was

“Misunderstandings and me never
correcting. Lyme. Like disease, a tick that is me, a composition notebook with a tree asp spine. Lying, green and neon pus-like.”

Eighteen Seventy

Honey

“We aren’t proud, somewhat terrified after a headless body and hoppers leaps onto my sister’s shirt, tries to look her in the eye.”

https://eighteenseventy.poetry.blog/2020/08/24/honey-by-kaci-skiles-laws/

Ten Million Flies

Dermoid Cyst

“The truth is I’ve been addicted a long time, the same as my attachment to trauma bonds, afraid of what comes and lies between who I am and who I want to be.”

Open Arts Forum

April 2021: I think I died

“… it doesn’t feel like home; I think
that’s good so I might leave
…”

I think I died

November 2020: This is How it Ends

“The characters on the cards speak with their demented eyes, marked four ninety-nine with enthusiasm and missing parts.”

October 2020: Pig Latin

“She saw me as hard tissue. A door left ajar. What I said. Honest. Insecure and reaching. A ringing nerve along her jawline.”

June 2020: Why are you so sad?

Why are you so sad? Everyone thinks.
Why are you so morbid? Everyone says.
Why are you, you? Everyone asks insincere.”

The Broken Spine

Brown Recluse

“She cries violins…”

Love

“My blisters eat everything, me, not wanting to see anything except what I’ve known…”

The Broken Spine Artist Collective: Second Edition (Digital)

Red Fez

Undressing

“You shower in the morning; the spider you ate in your bed is partially digested.”

https://www.redfez.net/poetry/motherhood-undressing-2866

September 2020: Dead Things

“We bury dead things, so they can turn to dirt.” We place a brick over it and forget until tomorrow.”

https://www.redfez.net/nonfiction/essay-dead-things-951

April 2021: Dance

“… smelling of whiskey while Nicole taunted me, calling me names in passing, like a ghost whispering on the stairs or from behind a curtain.”

https://www.redfez.net/poetry/blood-dance-3007

Necro Magazine

Issue 1, Death: A Void

“Letting go isn’t leaving; it is a gradual dimming, giving up control, trying to grow.”

Burn

“Cut eyelids. Awake. A VCR. Press play.”

Open Casket

“… he was no match for the artist that stitches and glues up gore…”

https://necroproductions.com/issues

Fall 2020

Issue 3, Justice: Her Name is Phan

Gaslight

Scapegoat Mary

We Fall

https://www.google.com/amp/s/necroproductions.com/magazine/issues/%3famp

Pif Magazine

Whitney

“Her silk hairs overtake the lake’s crocodile skin and its fish bones—
they become fur coats on August beaches.”

Whitney

Sniffles

“I am grateful their bodies are small because, by dusk, we’re tired of the day. I need an end that doesn’t taste like dirt on my face, under my nails and covering two bodies in large chunks that could never suffice. We start a second grave for Sniffles.”

Dig

“I am angry at the intrusions and movement inside of me, the dismantling—everything and everyone.

Dig

The Bag Dog

“How cautious we are with our accidental knives of concern falling open…”

The American Journal of Poetry

Bitter Kids

“…the licks of our perceptions, the rotating eye, the microscope we choke in our grips…”

http://www.theamericanjournalofpoetry.com/v8-laws_ka.html

Beneath Our Bell Jar

“Dad spreads his caviar of suffer, hires wrists to bend under samples of ptomaine tainted hors-d’oeuvres.”

https://theamericanjournalofpoetry.com/v7-laws.html

Mama Rage

The best that Mama gives is liver…”

https://theamericanjournalofpoetry.com/v9-laws.html

The Blue Nib

Kimberly’s Hands

“It’s late. I’m turning thirty one; there is supposed to be a pivot. The street— a canvas. The subway—where we leave suggestions of our youth.

Toothed One

“Would it be a choice—emerging from the wetlands, a pond, or someone’s garden palm, to step into window pane wings, to sprout stained glass, vintage markings?”

https://thebluenib.com/article/kimberlys-hands/

Otherwise Engaged Literary and Arts Journal

Vol 4, Winter 2019: Come Autumn

“It smells like autumn, not summer, not spring—never spring again, please.”

https://www.amazon.com/Otherwise-Engaged-Literary-Journal-Winter/dp/1707048673/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=otherwise+engaged+literary+journal&qid=1579108925&s=books&sr=1-1

The Bollman Bridge Review

Issue 2, Winter 2019: Mexican Cuisine 101

“He smiles like Lou Diamond Phillips when he says it. He always does, something like gratitude or denial behind an open-ended joke with only a toothy-conclusion.”

https://outwestwriter.wixsite.com/bollmanbridgereview

Issue 5, Fall 2021: Mawmaw’s Beans

“I haven’t picked weeds in nineteen years.” I say, and then I remember something. “Why did you let me
bring you bushels of them as bouquets? I thought they were flowers.”

Nod Magazine

My Weekend House

“It became the scab of my unintentional picking, a nervous door into foreign feeling.”

The Woman in the Wallpaper

“I’d identify termites creeping with their winged eating, my digested home, my house a carapace of skin.”

https://nodmagazine.wordpress.com/

Ponder Savant

Writer’s Block

“My cheeks are turning pink like rabid dogs in heat.”

https://pondersavant.com/2019/07/18/the-art-of-depression-kaci-skiles-laws/

Fiend

“I’m held together with pins and needles, a broken jaw.”

https://pondersavant.com/2019/10/22/existential-ponders-kaci-skiles-laws/

Red

“I stood by your hand, caressed silence, scared of red.”

https://pondersavant.com/2020/01/08/kaci-skiles-laws-ponder-away/

Goat Milk Magazine

Plastic Play Thing

“She tucked in her pain and tucked us inside her dress pocket too.”

https://www.dropbox.com/s/af7rultvqyilr07/Issue%20Four.pdf?dl=0

Sleet Magazine

The Brown Closet

“Her finger retreats and fumbles for the fairy. “It’s far away across the ocean.”

https://sleetmagazine.com/home/archives/

Memoryhouse Magazine

A Snake

“She steps away too to watch. All that is left is a spinning noodle.”

https://chicagomemoryhouse.wordpress.com/archive/

Martin Lake Journal

Vol. 3, 2020: Giving

“I watch them hug the cloth of their stolen houses, the threads holding them like briar, the snags binding them.”

Awards

North Central Texas College’s Creative Writing Contest

This is How it Ends

“A discreet chill lingers to speak; a farewell from the arctic concludes: if millions of anything dies it isn’t equally tragic.

https://www.nctc.edu/english-speech-foreign-language/creative-writing.html

Creative Writing Ink Challenge

My Fictitious Faberge Bee

“I hold two reflective surfaces curtseying, each tendril—dust of us.
Do we keep pictures to remember or forget?”

CWI September 2019 Winner

Creative Writing Ink Writing Prompt Contest

Andromeda’s Hands

“The subway dashes. Her hair reaches; she continues to fill in the depressions
with porcelain.”

https://www.facebook.com/pg/kaciskileslawswriter/posts/?ref=page_internal

Prompts

Coats of Lamb

“It pretends to know
where it goes, vacuums out memory in reverse,
winter from our marrow;
they both burden yellow,
the way a nimbostratus cloud
gives the city a cold.”

https://kaciskileslawswriter.wordpress.com/2020/01/24/coats-of-lamb/

A Blue Window

“We got back and our hotel room
smelled of gutted fish and rot. It was free of its shell, dead, and bloated. “

https://www.google.com/amp/s/kaciskileslawswriter.wordpress.com/2020/05/15/a-blue-window/amp/

Dissociates

“I always tried to save something helpless, a stray cat. It’s why I hated ruined things, the word ungrateful, held onto them, made wishes.”

Dissociates

Poetry and Prose

Bewildering Stories

Issue 778: His Name is Happiness

“…he slinks down my eaves, passes through the panes, and leaves before the dew.”

http://www.bewilderingstories.com/issue778/name_happiness.html

Issue 759: The Cult of Cute

“And don’t forget blatant or covert abuse. Those you get to choose! Signed, The Clan of the Obtuse.”

http://bewilderingstories.com/issue759/cult_cute.html

Issue 765: The Paper Man

“I never would have thought to stop and think about an insignificant stray mark I made because I make so many. Now I stand in question before you, a creative idea that furled out from the end of a stroke of paint. You are a mere dot on a page in the grand scheme, among many I have made.”

http://bewilderingstories.com/issue765/paper_man.html

Issue 795: Leland Gaunt

“Slithers as he speaks, grabs her, no head nod but a flick of his tongue. The dog cowers. Surrounding air settles. A moldy, thick paste stays.”

http://www.bewilderingstories.com/issue795/leland_gaunt.html

The Letters Page

Vol. 3: A Letter to a Jumping Spider

“I admire your versatility and spunky disposition.”

http://www.theletterspage.ac.uk/the-letters-page-vol-3.aspx

Unlikely Stories

Rio Vista

“The rain—its lapping could fill our farm’s well in reverse until it rose over and the dead debris, the black cicadas would not sleep…”

We Fall

“Our nuclear families smile like Stepford.”

Our Cicadas

“I tell you—they tunnel through night like dormant sleepwalkers to crawl up their mothers’ spines…”

https://www.unlikelystories.org/content/rio-vista-we-fall-and-our-cicada-bugs

50 Haikus

Vol. 1, Issue 15: Christmas Passing

“St. Nicholas? Death?”

https://prolificpress.com/bookstore/50-haikus-c-5/

Sub Rosa Zine

Psychoanalysis

“The outside is loud. I want the exhaust out of my lungs. I fidget; she knows why.”

Family Ties

“Age never means wisdom is searched, not resisted for false security. My feet do less, and somehow it’s the answer.”

Former People

Open Casket

“We cried at the veneer halting his decay.”

Sister

“I glance at you, young and unmoving. Our memories are still lives that bleed tears and breathe longing.”

The Reason Why Rabbits Don’t Cook

“Am I deficient in my thoughts or resisting them like a house boarded up for a flood? Do they leak out and in until they settle for a second? They are itchy informant gnats I can’t ignore. They see things I nail beneath my feet…”

Grains of Her

“I was sick then. I didn’t know. I am sick with Crohn’s—the symptoms snarl.”

Don’t Tell the Antelope

“Maybe his hooves are patient, they craft a dagger out of a malformed horn, or wait for the majestic to expire before the maggots mature.”

Of Hell

“I’d be the most luminescent bubble in its wind like Glinda leaving Oz—loved for tenderness
before my destructive growls had time to show through the pink tulle, or the crown grew into maiming the enemy because lately all I feel is hate…”

https://formerpeople.wordpress.com/2019/06/22/five-poems-23/

Ghost in a Glass

“The almonds do not suffer, and neither do I. My guts are happy until my leftover breakfast wafts my way, reminding me of Pop-Tarts.”

They Eat Plastic

“I have considered taking a welding tool to the scrap metal men emerging. They are working to eradicate humans, I think. I can never get a sufficient reply.”

https://formerpeople.wordpress.com/2019/04/24/two-flash-fictions-2/


About Me


“I teach myself to dress as creeping figs on a sway of fence.”

Kaci Skiles Laws is a closet cat-lady and creative writer who reads and writes voraciously in the quiet moments between motherhood and managing Crohn’s Disease. She grew up on a small farm in a Texas town alongside many furry friends, two sisters, and a brother. She has known tragic loss too well, and her writing which is often dark and honest, with themes of death, suicide, codependency, generational trauma, night terrors, and other bizarre musings, is a reflection of the shadows lurking in her psyche.

She was awarded second place for her poem, This is How it Ends, by North Central Texas College’s English Department and is currently working on a chapbook, a book of two sentence horror stories, and a children’s book called The Boogerman. Some of her visual artwork can be viewed on her and her husband’s YouTube channel listed under Kaci and Bryant.

Photo credit: Bryant Laws

This is How it Ends

Silence chauffeurs loss,
a discreet chill lingers to speak, a farewell from the arctic concludes:

if millions of anything dies it isn’t equally tragic.
Primates are most vile; what could Jane Goodall see in chimpanzees?
Maybe as humans, we are of different genera, unclassified
chain-links. With the real miracles being exploited, pillaged, gulped whole—
I know we are a natural disaster in action.

I attempt to distract my son from us,
squabble with loose pieces to board games—the misfits Goodwill crochets.
It is a dishonest flail on my part. 80,000 children are starving
in Yemen; I find three versions of Candyland
at my local garbage store, not the edition from my childhood.

The characters on the cards speak with their demented eyes,
marked four ninety-nine with enthusiasm and missing parts.
Once they were drawn docile, nostalgic shades of imagination, an assurance
of safe nonsense. Today, they are decomposing in landfills or have become debris

inside of beached whales. My mother tags me in articles
depicting graphic images. But never does anything more.
We stare on and scroll up.


Contact

Send Me a Message


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