A heart.

person standing near door jamb

On a Sunday evening
she noticed mold growing
within the divots and cracks
of this old rotted thing

plucked from her chest
by her own hand
she buried it in the trash
alongside burnt letters
and bad eggs,
muttering to herself
that it was too rancid
to keep.

© Nancy Botta, 2018



grayscale photo of concrete room

Mercy looks so lost
welling up in your eyes,
like it doesn’t know
where the past ends
and the present begins,
like it doesn’t feel
clean veins pulse
under pocked skin,
like it doesn’t realize
there’s nothing
left to forget
or forgive.

© Nancy Botta, 2018


Metaphorically missing, technically present.

apartment bed cardboard comfort

The dog ate a baggie of heroin
that was haphazardly
thrown over the fence;
the dog started having seizures
and snarled at shadows,
the dog was never quite the same.


I don’t remember when
I realized you were
metaphorically missing
but technically present,
it must have been when I noticed
your fresh wardrobe
and heavily guarded phone.


The dog stayed alive
despite the accidental overdose
and distressed panting;
a veterinarian gave the all clear
but there’s an irrevocable hunger
behind it’s unfocused eyes.


Your new cologne lingers
on the cold side of the bed,
and I wonder if you even knew
that I hated the smell of sandalwood,
I wonder if you even remembered me at all.


The dog escaped in the early morning
after hours of frenzied digging,
it bounded into the street
and was struck dead by your car
careening down the road,
trying to make it home before the break
of unforgiving sunlight.


© Nancy Botta, 2018


Dinner with the folks.

food pot kitchen cooking

My mother simmers oxtails
and hollers like a kettle—
high blood pressure and anxiety,
nothing is ever good enough,
she fans herself with a dish cloth
while she squawks about ingrates
and too much gristle.

Beneath brown eaves
my father smokes in silence,
he watches moss grow over a stone.

© Nancy Botta, 2018