Michelle Kingdom © 2018

Michelle Kingdom © 2018


by Lori Lamothe

portrait of a lady, 1913


My head a cloud
                 of feathers and flowers,
I emerge
                                 a doll descending a staircase,

layer upon layer
               of beauties piled on.

All so I can cross an avenue
                                 traverse a park
                                                 ignore the nannies.

                                It took so long
to learn to walk in air,
                                to know the weight

                  of birdsong gone silent
                                                                                artificial roses

ribbons bent into bows

I’m a walking vase, a study in baroque—

                                                slightly less
well behaved than the chandelier above me,
                 the one that trembles
                                                               at every man’s approach.

It’s true: an army of hatpins
                              presses into my scalp

but my hair’s a nest in which dark things hatch

                                                    and my gloved left hand

              is only a motion away from dangerous.


Lori Lamothe’s most recent collection is Kirlian Effect (FutureCycle Press, 2017). Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Blackbird, Hayden’s Ferry Review, the Journal, Memorious, Passages North, Verse Daily, and elsewhere.