Bailey Willes

Bailey Willes is a Salt Lake City based writer and poet. She recently completed her Art History undergraduate degree from Westminster College with an English minor. She was selected by Carolyn Forché for the 2022 Westminster Student Poetry Contest for her poem “Love in a Mist” featured in ellipsis… literature & art journal and on for the 2022 Academy of American Poets University & College Poetry Prize. Her short story “Pleasant Grove” is published in Stirring: A Literary Collection. Her poetry and artwork have also been featured in Pencilings Literary Magazine, and her artwork has been shown and awarded at the Springville Museum of Art.


Not after dinner, we go to the back porch

where the snails leave their post-shower snot

glistening in the almost-sundown

filling in the gaps where the grey hound kicked up

crab grass playing fetch with herself

littering the kitchen tile on her way to the oven

to bone-beg

we take our blotted bowls out back to watch

the sun sag low

heavy as light can be

under the laurel trees

our mother Daphne grew


This is the fresh-daisy neighborhood

where we girls learn to suck the marrow

from celery sticks

where, I found how to be selfish

with a paring knife,

an apple, and an hour to kill


We are the apple blossom

greeting committee

languid as drooping hyacinths

at the door

we’ll hand you

curdled charity and little laurel-leaf cuttings


You won’t be happy here

but you’ll be safe

tucked between the amber shelves of

sapling girlhood and evergreen woman

half-nourished and tangled up with perennial Apollo


whispering in his bum-ear

dirty nothings just to pass the