about the author

Sally Burnette lives in a hole in Brookline, MA. Is asst. poetry ed. for Redivider. Recent work has appeared/is forthcoming in theEEEL, Five 2 One Magazine’s #thesideshow, Spectator & Spooks, and Queen Mob’s Teahouse.


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The Mother 

Sally Burnette



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a few of us are sitting outside on the patio at jane & edith’s
gazing at the placid night holding stemless glasses partially full
of chardonnay like sloshing orbs in our hands & jack points up

& leans over to sasha to spout off about an exquisitely beautiful
constellation he claims to see that zak says is probably
just a satellite or some shit
& edith really drunk by now

says everyone shut the fuck up & come here
so we follow her like lemmings into the yard & jane says
she’s gonna stay back & get the dishes started

& edith doesn’t say anything
but walks over to their small garden & turns
on a huge lamp & we stare at each other

but no one speaks because no one wants to be the one
to upset her more especially not after what all happened
with the baby & I try not to wonder while watching her

stand there crying with her back to us if they’d given it a name
& I remember when she told me well at least I can drink again
she’d said & she’d laughed & I hadn’t known what to say

then either & now in the artificial glow she’s almost supernaturally still
& she looks up & we look up & the sky’s draped with a veil of tiny moths
lured by the light & one lands on her collarbone & she coaxes it

onto the rim of her wine glass & holds it up
so we too can see the white-lined lichen-colored thing
Dyspteris abortivaria or Bad-wing she says & cuts off the lamp

they’re hard to mount because their hindwings are much smaller
than their forewings
she says as the moth crawls down her pinky
which makes it difficult to pull the former into a spread position she says

& the creature rests in the fleshy cup of her palm
but I would never mount you of course she says you’re too precious
& the moth ascends to her thumb’s apex & she curls her index finger back

& with a quick pinch crushes its thorax.





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