Lori Lamothe

Bottle Tree, 1922

At night it sings
every branch 

heavy with badness.
I lay in bed 

listening to the 
caught spirits 

storming inside 
blue glass

touch my hand to 
my throat

feel the want  
beating humming-

bird wings
quick like love 

for the wrong 
man the heart

thrashing in its cage 
mad for freedom.


The whiskey dark
against my skin.

I close my eyes
pray for dawn

to burn off desire 
stain the world pink. 


At the Kitchen Window

November. My mind’s full of dark interiors,
corridors of words 
            tunneling toward the heart.

Its chambers echo the way new houses do.
I want to fill them with the kind of furniture 
that presses clawed feet into 
                                          hard floors, 
carves grooves in memory. 

Outside, twin metal poles tilt away from each other
at awkward angles, the lines that bound them 
            long gone. 

The birdfeeder has slipped into silence.

The garden’s a scribble of neglect. 

Even the season has burnt to the quick.
            Its orange leaves 
gutter in evening’s lamp

but the future’s been there all along, waiting 
with its crimson feathers, 
            its Etch-a-Sketch birdsong,
its Foxglove bells that ring out across the stillness
            and shock vision back into beating.  


Still Life

There’s a newspaper open across the table,
a cat called cat 
perched like a bird on the rim of a chair,
and her blue-black hair 
washed in ordinary shadows.

It was one of those decades 
when people read things cover to cover
in a single sitting; when snowflakes 
drifted across makeshift goals;
when summer’s blue burning   
hibernated behind houses. 

By her side an untuned piano, 
stands immovable at the center of silence,
the world inside and out 
just as weighted. At least that’s how 
I imagine it—grainy winter light 
battened down and everything close  
lulled by the far-flung whistle 
of a train rumbling toward night. 



Summer split open. 
Heat, blue sky 
hollowed out.

The side of the road
is a sea of blackened pods,
dark stalks,

but all around us the air 
glimmers handfuls of floss—
seeds floating 

on currents invisible, 
dissolving in light. 
How I want to believe

in this version of loss—
this place where 
whatever survives 

becomes wind,
weightless, unbound 
as an ordinary day 

opening its spaces. 


Lori Lamothe is the author of two poetry collections, Happily (Aldrich Press, 2016) and Trace Elements (Aldrich Press, 2015), as well as a few chapbooks, most recently Ouija in Suburbia (dancing girl press, 2015). Her poems have appeared in Cold Mountain Review, Kentucky Review, The Literary Review, Verse Daily and elsewhere. 


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