I keep a box of bones under my bed:
femurs poking out among the scree
of vertebrae I know verbatim, cracked
clavicle leaving room for perjuries

of family history no one dares
recount. Indolent daughter of a whore–
what was I to do? I hawked my wares,
but they weren’t worth the shadow on the door.

A mandible wags loosely in my lap,
hinged to words we never took time to say;
our dumb fears linger wingless in the gaps.
I could shake these bones until break of day.

Instead I drag the box out to the shed.
No sense in lying lipless with the dead.


Darla Mottram

About Darla Mottram

Darla Mottram is a recent graduate of Marylhurst University in Lake Oswego, Oregon. She will pursue an MFA in poetry at Portland State University beginning fall 2015. Her work has been featured in NAILED Magazine and Voicecatcher, among others. She a co-founder of the social art project Put-Pockets (, a blog that documents creative ways of sharing poetry with the world.
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