you are in the diode archives spring 2010



Who Will Bury Me?

The stuff of a mouse is missing. Somewhere
in air above my pantry shelves fur
and whiskers disappeared. Dissolved
in time, tiny eyeballs, white wormlike
intestines. Small organs. I know

these parts are missing because my hand,
reaching for something else, settled
upon a skeleton. Frail bones, perfect
as webs, intact like dinosaurs
at a museum. Believe this:

that mouse had been chewing on a box
filled with staples. Gray fluff
of nibbled cardboard, reinforced
with metal prongs. Safe maternal nest.
What interrupted this mouse

business, so ordinary and warm? Did
one staple, swallowed in exuberance,
disturb the delicate flutter of breath?
Have I, with no babies to nest,
lived with death for so long?


Mother Hood

When I send you into the forest, child
I will lock the door against your love.
There are wolves in the shadowed pines
waiting to wring the pity from my heart.
I would not venture there.  But you

Always the brazen one, breezing into darkness
on scarlet wings, trusting the strangers
that populate my dreams.  Who am I
to teach you fear?  Sheltered here
with my custard crocks and muffin tins

I stir and knead, pressing down
desire, my conciliation rising
in the humid warmth of domesticity.
I will wipe your safety from my mind,
scrub away my need to protect you.

The day grows long.  Loaves of bread
adorn my hearth as I wait.  The shadows outside
stretch their limbs into regrets, reaching
for the shriveled heart that let you go.  


Therese Mattil holds an MFA from Vermont College ('85) and has taught creative writing for twenty-five years. She considers working with young poets and writers to be the most fulfilling aspect of her teaching career.