For today’s post I point readers in the direction of Plume, Danny Lawless’s astonishing literary magazine. A recent issue features three poems by Nicole Cooley, all entitled “Trash” and all dealing with mothers and daughters and complicated loss. Here’s one:


I have no wanting, I text to myself. Which terrifies me. I circle the

closed down high school parking lot.  For my birthday, my husband

gives me a book about walking in Paris, Russia, Grand Isle, Louisiana.

I circle our block: weeping birch tree, plastic bag the color of

parchment. Today is as hot as the inside of a mouth, and I remember

the man who died beside us, on the other side of the curtain, at the

hospital, who was pumped full of drugs and air and could not be 

brought back. How his wife wept and shook his shoulders, his

daughters late to arrive. How we pretended not to be there, in our own

curtained room, inches away. A body could be lost to the virus as fast

as loose change scattered in a pocket.  Any word my husband and I

could exchange after that: pink as a tongue tip.  To keep her safe I set

my daughter back inside me like a Russian nesting doll we bought on

the streets of Berlin before we had any daughters. I am walking. I am

treble-clefting. I want nothing except swimming pool blue—the color

of my daughter’s eyes when she was born. Bring me back. Or don’t. I

am dreaming of every phrase I can fathom for escape.


You can read all three here:

July 5



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