Darla Mottram resides in Portland, Oregon (USA). She holds an MFA in creative writing
from Portland State University.

What Happened

You run, tossing your
espadrilles into the
dumpster behind
Dante's. Feet
blistered &
black when you get
back to Carl's.
He's high. Crib's
broke. Where's the baby?
Cloud of
smoke trail of
glass someone
smashed a bottle over
someone else's head.
Baby's in the
driveway wailing her
hand landed on a
bee. Somebody
scoop her up
kiss her blistered
feet. Somebody
You were
yelling at Carl when the
cops came. Different
day same story. Stack of
green by the door,
what'd you do that
Or you're not there
when they handcuff him
—or is it Jim?—
& take away the
baby. A blue
light on in the
hall, a black leather
bag packed, you left
without a call. No
I see you
standing in the
doorway throwing
away trash. Barefoot
& barely breathing.
You've been dead twelve
years. We've still got
a way to go.

Family Tree

We were given large, colorful sheets of construction paper
& the freedom to go sit outside
the classroom. I chose the 5th grade hallway, where they kept the snake.
He peered at me from behind glass,
yellow & drowsy. I didn't blame him
for his lack of interest. The task
was a dreary one: draw
your family tree
. I used pencil
because I knew I would make mistakes.

Everyone Has a Relationship to Stars—Orion, Lyra, oh Cygnus the swan, or has sat in dark dazzled by light of bright burning Marilyn, tears tracing constellation on cheeks. Mother star shooting up, bright white imagination. Light of her living in my gaze years dead. Mother everybody uses, everybody a wound that shape. Who hasn't sat in stairwell crying mother mother. Dead stars caught on screen, forever faces shining. Word we use holding other words, inaccessible, distant, desired, words concealing meaning, or wavering it, bright in night sky not illuminating anything, not maternal like moon but mothers still, mother of this thought & that, of feeling, of tingling nerves weeping we might call enduring—

The Goat of Eventual

Consecrate the crumbling doorknob
Intention gagged on language
Goatsmilk on its lips, drip drip
Can you hear the clockwork grinding
Stare into the word long enough
A laugh like the moon, a tunnel
To a blinding white thought, quarantined
I don't know where I left my coat
If you a little longer stare you forget whore you are
Caterpillar moving backwards into mouth
Tarantula said ten times terribly
Bird turning birdless
The sky quartered into separate catastrophes
Caterpillar moving back words
Grapes exploding in connection with teeth
The moon like a frozen teat
A frenzied licking, my gluttonous tongue
Milk unclumping
Grapes exploding golgothas
Mad mad mad milk of morning
A ward, a thought
But I to you of a white goat
Are is who is you for had did what and get

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