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Kaci Skiles Laws

“Kaci Skiles Laws is a skilled poet and prose writer who’s every line uses unexpected word play to uncover what lies beneath that interesting rock on the shoulder of a dirt road; a road many of us wish to avoid.” — City of Fredericton Poet Laureate Jordan Trethewey, Author of Unexpected Mergers

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


Strange Beauty Published by Dead Man’s Press Ink

“I have memories of my dad telling me and my sisters ghost stories every other weekend after my parents divorced, being immersed in the Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark books, and experiencing paranormal activity often at my grandparents’ farmhouse as well as poltergeist-like activity in my own home.

My mother told me of a story when I was no more than a year old; I would refuse to go into this one house. I’d be kicking and screaming, hysterical. Not long after my episodes, the house burnt down. I have a tendency to be hypervigilant which might account for my extrasensory abilities, or perhaps it’s the other way around. It’s been said I’m highly sensitive and clairvoyant and haunted.

It isn’t uncommon for the running theme in the majority of my work to be about death. I became well acquainted with loss around the same time I began reading and my grandpa died in his house from lung cancer. After that there were two suicides in my family, one being my sister, Heather.

I do mention suicide more than once within my collection, which also includes themes of transitions, growing up, family dysfunction, illnesses, trauma, and other bizarre, dark matters.”

Available on Amazon: › Strange-…
Strange Beauty: Laws, Kaci Skiles –

Summer Storms Published by Sunday Mornings at the River

“Kaci Skiles Laws new collection of poetry and prose, Summer Storms, is “for the child that dies inside us all. It is slow, everything gradual” (from “I Tell Him I Will Never Eat Him”). Summer Storms begins reflecting on motherhood and how the author’s relationships changed once she became a mother. The highs and lows and family dysfunction are duly noted before the reader goes bouncing back to a place in time when the author was just an observer of the adult world and adult things.”

Available on Amazon: › Summer…
Summer Storms: Skiles Laws, Kaci, Rijsdijk, Rebecca, at the … –

Poetry and Prose

Eunoia Review – January 2023 – 1996-2001; Rio Vista; A Way Back Home; Whitney; Crows Through Windows; Our Cicadas; and Giving

River Teeth JournalDecember 2022 – Sprouts

3Elements Review – November 2022 – If I could take him back to my womb

October Hill Magazine Fall 2022 – 1996-2001

Tiny Frights – April 2022 – Hunt

Oddball Magazine – October 2021 – there are people who take pictures at funerals

Piker Press – October 2021 – I Tell Him I Will Never Eat Him -

Continue The Voice – October 31, 2021, Issue 13 – Pumpkin Eater

Impspired – Issue 14, Volume 7 2021-2022 – Good God; Lanugo –

The Rye Whiskey Review – October 2021 – homemade razor blades -

Nota Bene Zine – October 2021, Issue 4

Polemical Zine – Fall 2021, Issue 17 – Rio Vista; My Fictitious Faberge Bee

Maythorn Magazine – September 2021, Issue 2 – Pig Latin

Lothlorien Poetry Journal – July 2021 – Dissociates; The Suicide Forest; Emma; Masquerade; Ripples -

Imposter: A Poetry Journal – Summer 2021: A Telephone and a Tommy Gun -

Dead Skunk Lit – October 2021 – Eugene -

Sunday Mornings at the River – Covid Anthology: A Letter in Quarantine –

Horror Sleaze Trash – Summer 2021: Dance -

Dumpster Fire Press: Voices from Fire -Summer 2021: Ghosts – ttps://

Intangible Magazine – Issue 2 – Thing –

Door Is A Jar – Fall 2021 – Phantom Fangs; Nothing -Paperback:

Fahmidan JournalCrohn’s Disease -

Outlander Zine – May 2021 – Girl; Crohn’s Not Crones; Emma -

Levitate – May 2021 – The War -

Triggerfish Critical Review – July 2021, Issue 26 – Lint

Harbor Review – January 2021 – Coats of Lamb

Fragmented Lines – January 2021 – Everyone Melts -

Cajun Mutt Press – January 2021 – Father

Capsule Stories – Winter 2020 Edition – Dear Winter -

Written Tales – October 29, 2020 – The Fall of Sybil

Terror House Magazine – October 2020 – Collect; Morty Horse; No Basura –

Anti-Heroin Chic – October Issue, 2020 – Human

Kiss My PoetryDark Chocolate

Rough Cut Press – Issue 16: Green Is All I Ever Was

Eighteen SeventyHoney -

Ten Million FliesDermoid Cyst –

Open Arts Forum – April 2021 – I think I died

November 2020 – This is How it Ends

October 2020 – Pig Latin

June 2020 – Why are you so sad? –

The Broken Spine

Brown Recluse

“She cries violins…”


“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


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

September 2020: Dead Things

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

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.”

Necro Magazine

Issue 1, Death: A Void

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


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

Open Casket

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

Fall 2020

Issue 3, Justice: Her Name is Phan


Scapegoat Mary

We Fall

Pif Magazine


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



“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.”


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


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…”

Beneath Our Bell Jar

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

Mama Rage

The best that Mama gives is liver…”

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?”

Otherwise Engaged Literary and Arts Journal

Vol 4, Winter 2019: Come Autumn

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

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.”

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.”

Ponder Savant

Writer’s Block

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


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


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

Goat Milk Magazine

Nov. 2021: Ghosts

“On the way home from her house that night, tired and struggling to see through the patches of low fog settling around my Jeep like a sinister cloud, speeding up and slowing down in frustrated intervals, I clipped an animal or what I assumed to be an animal.”

Plastic Play Thing

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

Sleet Magazine

The Brown Closet

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

Memoryhouse Magazine

A Snake

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

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.”


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.

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.”

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.”

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. “


“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.”


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.”

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.”

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.”

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.”

The Letters Page

Vol. 3: A Letter to a Jumping Spider

“I admire your versatility and spunky disposition.”

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…”

50 Haikus

Vol. 1, Issue 15: Christmas Passing

“St. Nicholas? Death?”

Sub Rosa Zine


“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.”


“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…”

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.”

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.


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