Still Life of You, Remaining

quiet & beloved memory—serpent swallowing mouse whole
a vibration of the tail—warning of appetite
I collect your worst flaws in a jar, colorful
I taste them—candy, I loathe them—cemetery. 

our walls spackled with fear, hanging rabbits & chickens
hanging blue, darker than my room, an evening, look
I pause for the moon, look, it moves you but does not move
the wind, is silent, it ruptures your breath, I wait.

we collect snakes in our room, they hiss at any movement
we splatter their colors on walls to hide the shame
we shame the walls with colors that we splattered
I collect my snakes and wait for your return.

I miss heat, I search for heat, I slash your name
into this canvas, I rip flowers apart, and berries
I smear their colors onto this surface, I repeat
no space is left un-filled, unfulfilled.

we pause, I gather water, to drown
harm in the gut, or grief, whatever we call
separation, bleeding onto a white plateau
of us and you, I exiled and you, re-appearing.


Image: Sunset near Arbonne,ca. 1860–65, Théodore Rousseau French
Mateo Lara

Mateo Lara is queer & latinx, originally from Bakersfield, California. He received his B.A. in English at CSU Bakersfield. He is currently working on his M.F.A. in Poetry at Randolph College in Lynchburg, VA. His poems have been featured in Orpheus, EOAGH, Empty Mirror, and The New Engagement. He is an editor for RabidOak online literary journal & Zoetic Press.