wicked alice| fall 2009

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Lori Lamothe




Their howls rip sleep in two. Night's gone into labor,

breathes jagged air.

Later: sadness rises and falls in curtains. 


The other day a neighbor caught a pair of coyotes

drinking moonlight out of her swimming pool.


They were unmoved by her symphony of clanging pots.

Now she keeps her kids inside,

subscribes to the sunshine channel.


I once loved a man who loved the sound of coyotes.

We rode nightly on that rollercoaster of crescendo and rest.


There was a kind of magic in it

but I knew if I followed the sound to its source


I'd emerge into a clearing of complete emptiness,

fall forever in zero's black hole.


My ex-love says the coyotes arenít singing emptiness at alló

that my origami silhouettes of loneliness

are only the echoes of lullaby.


Fold words into cranes. Knit sound into sequence

and hold its shadow up against tomorrowís blank slate sky.


Watch how the dark flutter of notes makes meaning

seem bigger than it really is.

Watch how time washes silence clean.












The architecture of expectation

won't catch

only smokes: rain-drunk dragon


guarding someone else's

                        version of contentment.

Then all at once intensity


opens its palm, and red

spreads from the roots to the tips

of color until the whole


sky's breathing heat

  and the fire tree,

if I can call it that, shakes out its hair.


Sparks ride air

take root in doubt;

they may never matterómay


never burn down the wick of darkness

                        and explode

the snow's fierce calligraphy.


Hours later, when we ride by,

embers still glow

        like anger


simmering on opposite sides of a bed

         or the one idea

I can't keep lit, can't let go.











Dead Wife Look Alike



Everyone keeps calling your name.

In parking lots, women tell me


Iíve got the recipe for eternity,

surround me with shopping carts.


As if thatís not bad enough

toddlers and shaggy dogs


keep weaving rings around escape.

Hey, I canít even cook pasta


but the man you married

tells me I sometimes carry a cane


and your own mother swears

this summery dress and bright


bandanna wrapped around my head

will lead her straight to you.


There are only seventeen people in the world

who speak regret fluently.


There are forty-two tricks for remembering,

but only eleven for forgetting.


Please respond. I have so much more

to tell you about invisible.




Lori Lamothe has recent work in 42opus, Barn Own Review, failbetter.com, Linebreak and other magazines. Her chapbook, Camera Obscura, is available from Finishing Line Press.