Mothers are not illnesses.
Leashes grow like silk
scarves from their necks
until they are drowning
in them, hands on their throats,
bodies bent in acute prayer.

Mothers are not phone companies,
but are begged for speech-grains,
the dust from a single letter tattooed
on their tongues, and the mothers
say, “There is no queen but a ghost.”

Mothers are not mothers.
They walk across beachskin
clutching rabbits who clutch moons
to race beneath—their ears pinned back
like butterfly wings. The mothers are tanned
pale by the new moon-constellations,
as they cheer their rabbits on:
praising fur like pearls,
eyes black as brass.

Cooper Arnink-Lader.jpeg

Cooper Arnink-Lader holds a bachelor's degree in creative writing from Wells College, and is currently applying for MFA programs. He likes writing, horror movies/books/campfire stories, and, occasionally, writing well.