To give.

I strip off what’s left
just as you asked;

see here are my bones,
they rattle and clang
like teeth in a sink.

Whatever drips
is a mess on the floor;

see here is some hair,
wet and mashed
pulled from my throat.

I’m sorry for the stains
it’s all darker than I thought;

see here are my eyes,
punctured cornea
dribbling ink blots and salt.

It’s all gone
just cavities and echoes;

see here is where I end,
a vanishing fog
wishing you’d tell me to stop.

© Nancy Botta, 2020



cave near body of water at sunset

On the shore of a cave
I had thrown myself in
I smashed up stalagmites
growing from my skin
and sawed off stalactites
dripping off my chin.
/ /
New flesh, pink and sweet
like pearls and starfish
scattered at my feet.

© Nancy Botta, 2020



abstract wallpaper

Lips curled;
there’s a painful point
of contention between you,
and a heart full of expectations.

Head down;
I say I can try harder,
but your eyes roll sideways
and I find myself
slipping underfoot.

Open sneer;
you have sharp teeth
and a judgmental tongue,
but I labor under your intensity
and bear the weight of pursed lips.

Wilted frown;
this inadequacy is innate-
I can’t give more
than a mumbled apology
from a sad, sloping mouth.

© Nancy Botta, 2019


Lavender sachets.

white petaled flowers

One night
she came home alone
and slumped into
a dozen throw pillows
clustered like fungi
on her floral couch—

face down in polyester,
everything smelled like
musty lavender,
wilted bra straps,
and the wandering musk
of a man gone astray.

© Nancy Botta, 2019