Three Poems by Nadia Mota


nuclear fusion

we imagine that the universe could hear our voices,
sonic waves sent out through the stratosphere and
up to the makeshift heavens – loud, fiery stars
beating themselves against the dark, making some-
thing of the empty. we circle them with what we have:

soppy declarations of love, messy but absolute;
those things we don’t realize are true until they
spill red on the carpet, a stain made acceptable
by the irreversibility of splotchy creation.

because this we’ve formed: our self-made stars,
these fluorescent stitches illuminating the rain-slick
streets. how a voice can travel across the flimsy
fabric of space and time, some 93 million miles
away: i made this light, and i’m giving it to you.

the basement

i leave my voice between floor boards,
string up starlight on paint peeling walls.

this is where my words live when
they aren’t tucked inside my cheek.

fading sun slants through the window,
late afternoon thickened light
that i pour into jars like honey.

lavender sprouts from the carpet,
little sprigs to pull from a back pocket
and twist between rooted fingers.

i suspend bridges from the ceiling
to cross into all of the lives i’ll live.

i write on the walls the
things i want to say
when the door is closed.

my poem doesn’t know how to

my poem doesn’t know how to revolutionize an overcast sky.
it can’t pull the clouds into cotton and spin them to the shape
of my favorite sweater. no, my poem doesn’t know how to
make itself comfortable. it sits in plastic covered chairs and
spills coffee on the carpet. my poem knows messy and difficult
like a child running barefoot and blissful through hallways,
scented markers carving paths on plaster walls. i am its weary
mother. i know how to worry. i know where worry hides, the
tiny (ever-growing) hole in my tights and the (ever-dimming)
bulb on my string of lights. it’s scribbled onto the clipboard
as i sit with stiffly crossed legs, simmering in my semi-solitude.
positive affirmations (it’s okay to not be okay!) strung up like
surprise party streamers on lavender walls (getting help is always
an option!) and i’m the guest of honor. i don’t know how to
answer the therapist’s questions. my poem doesn’t either.

Nadia Mota is a Chicana writer and undergraduate student at the University of Michigan. She can be found on Twitter @nadiamariemota, where she rarely tweets, but favorites everything.

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