fingertips tracing the hall        bumping

captured memories in thrift store frames

fabric walls swirled + stumbled

plastic champagne nightmare

aged by ghastly spirits

curled + feline in voyeuristic rage

i am six + vomiting on the carpet

old                   enough to knock

wall to wall berber moist

the smell mind meltingly distinct

mid coitus       shame anger    childpuke

fear      my sadness stained

my character nightshirt + baggy socks

while dad covered crotch w/ sheet

yelling             squint              adjusting to the overhead

light                 bowing my head to vintage porcelain

running the shower

(mom thought: steam helps sickly      babes)

palm to cheek watching

my mother dress

i understood    b/w

polyester silk layers

grief was not a gown

to be slid out of

but a skin to be licked

in tight corners

for a better fit

sitting denim cross eyed style

(two minute pee warning) hair matted to face

+ toilet seat     my puffy slits tracing

bicycle wallpaper bloomers to aged tile to

original stainless toothbrush holder +

even pre-orgasmic my mother is a stunning

wreck-age        her salt-blasted wood

elegant breasted mahogany   stern +

oiled to withstand

a fevered mind

<night terrors>

my room overlooks

snowy garbage            bins +

family photos stuck to crusted

albums              an ancient

flat faced cat presses its nose

beneath the surface

to drink           everything is lit red

hole in my palm made of flashlight

(antithetical religious imagery)

i keep sunshine caged + growling


from the outside          flicktailed

   babies haunt

nightly i scream + sing

never remember the dream just the

melody (forgotten) before it ever left

+ i feel his warmth on my chest

as an unnamed planet dies inside

(the loss          of an entire world)

you tell me it’s time    from the doorframe

+ you’ve never said anything more

horrific            or true            

i was given an $800 backgammon set

like a rare origin tale

sprinkled w/ blooms in seasonal varieties

jealousy striped but functional

(mother’s burgundy ceramic glassware)

i am blessed to know different types of

hot pepper      burning eyes twinkling

like a beacon    knobbled wood to palm

sliding down stairs +

swimming to the fridge

while on fire


sticky paged corridor

(technicolor ode) to

youthful sanctuary

emblazoned backwards across

wet or bloody mirror (hair dye)

wheat paste tissue      muddied

astroturf was cheaper than paint

+ dad had an industrial stapler

            safety pins at each corner

            to hang posters           secrets

leopard print bed bugs eating my sadness

this is how i remember

a red doored cardboard house little

brother chewing on pony hair

chunky baby spit in brushed plastic

helpless rage (he ran into my fist)

sara, how could you do such a thing!

textbook witch

inching the world by word

sleight of hand quarter

of an ear          left nibbled +

personified by loss                 grief

jeans tucked into boots

knotted            violence

maintaining structural order

walking on duct tape

to the bus home

Sara Matson’s poetry has been nominated for Best of the Net 2019 + can be found in The Journal Petra, Bone Bouquet, Pulp Poets Press, and elsewhere. Sara’s chapbook, electric grandma is available from Another New Calligraphy and her chaplet, Forgotten: Women in Science is available from Damaged Goods Press. Sara lives in Chicago + Tweets as @skeletorwrites.

Banner image by Olivia Cronk