Kathryn de Lancellotti
August 2020
Kathryn de Lancellotti Bio Photo.jpg

Kathryn de Lancellotti is a Pushcart Prize nominee and a former recipient of the Cowell Press Poetry Prize and the George Hitchcock Memorial Poetry Prize. Her poems and other works have appeared in Chicago Quarterly Press ReviewCatamaran Literary Reader, The American Journal of Poetry, Quarterly WestCultural WeeklyRust + Moth, and others. Kathryn resides in Harmony, California, with her family.




Aren’t we all looking for a way out of the owl’s talons?

A way not to remember

the honeybee’s sting, the shape of a boot on your back,

all the nights your breasts would leak, a child,

the sucking, the screaming.

Aren’t we all looking for a way not to remember 

the poems that cry us to sleep, the little ghosts

we carry in our hands, dare we tell?

Forget the Ativan, the razor, your car in Little River.

You wrote in blood, and for your sacrifice, I thank you,

dear Poetess, dear Mother, you took care of your children

the best you could. I’ve heard the stories.


You’d swear no gas seeped through the door.

You’d swear you sealed worlds between us.



A mother punches a wall

until her knuckles bleed,


sticks her face

into a pillow and screams.

She looks at her son


and thinks love is so lonely, 

at any moment he could be gone.


A mother prays death

will take her,

then begs forgiveness.


She couldn’t leave her boy here,



Once a year

his father sends an email,

pours guilt like gasoline down her throat.


Why November?

She’ll never know. 


Maybe it’s that winter is fated,

or is it the milk-white chill in the air?

But when a child asks, where’s my dad?


Sometimes a mother points up

to the night. Sometimes a mother lies.