Poetry by Mariama Lockington


night sweats

mama says: i live here
& i like it, stop soiling my ceiling

with your shoes, we are in
her house made of straw

& everything burns
i grow an ache in my side

& inhale a flock of migrating stars
all of the windows are open

the dark spilling in thick as molasses
mama grabs her dutch oven

fills it with my baby teeth, strains
boney broth through cheesecloth

& sits it on a chair to simmer
we have our voices

but when she speaks
it is a collection of metal things

crashing, when i speak
she shakes her head

& motions to the cold snap
between us

all night i watch her clean
with a wet rag, she smears

her heart-blood
over the granite counters

& nothing sparkles
i cannot climb out

of this scene, she never
asks about the sun

or why i’m still here
when she stops fussing

i crawl into her arms, i suck her
leaking nipples until they sore


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