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Lori Lamothe: A Long Sleep

Image: Unsplash, downloaded ( 09.04.2022.

At the American Philosophical Society

in the City of Brotherly Love

In this room of maps and glass

cursive names roam

extensive meadows full of buffalo--

the old world ink endlessly unfurling

its elegant, black flags

recording for fellow travelers

the long and barbarous names given these parts.

Conquest fades one word at a time.

So like a kind aunt

I'll call death a long sleep

and assure you someday the earth will wake

to create its own cartography

as men once recorded the angles stars made

when they passed invisible lines.


Some banded like Jupiter.

Some clear as air.

Some staring straight at us,

their red gaze

gouged from monster dreams.

I remember how you held them

so carefully,

worlds caught in a jar,

as you told the story of the German ship

that sank to the bottom of the sea in a war.

Sometimes I imagine those marbles

not safe in glass but as they were

when they fell through the sea

through all the lovely of green, of blue

to scatter across the sand’s dark universe.

Every unblinking eye

turned upward

to stare at the light firing the surface

and wait.

About the Author: Lori Lamothe's fourth poetry collection, Tulip Fever, is due out in fall 2022. She has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize multiple times and her work has been published widely. A former baker, policy analyst and security guard, her latest obsessions are NFT art, Victorian twins photos, box-brownie variations and flash fiction.


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The image of Quasimodo is by French artist Louis Steinheil, which appeared in  the 1844 edition of Victor Hugo's "Notre-Dame de Paris" published by Perrotin of Paris.


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