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


Nuclear family.

silhouette of building during golden house photo

Her face grew hot
and her stomach ate itself
as they watched the fire cloud
shoot into the sky.

“Is this really happening?”
her toddler laughs.

No one hears the music now,
and someone knocked over
their beer—
“turn up the fucking news Rachel!”
but even the coiffed bobble heads
don’t know what to say.

What a show!
What a marvelous show,
the airport is a crater
and a million vapor souls
billow out
to make grease stains of it all.

Grab the child and put on your shoes
“where are your shoes?”
grab the keys
“what about the cat?”
raining fire is melting this party
and the roof top is leaking onto the street.

Keep breathing
even if it burns—
hold on to the child
hold on to his hand
get in the car
and drive away from the screams.

© Nancy Botta, 2018