Louisa Diodato


There was a lion; I had its head in my mouth
I was holding the wooden chair out & then
there was my mother, the sheets flying, now
the thumping of stairs, me standing
ankle-bare outside the screen
door. Wasps circle the porch in hundreds
& pour from the eaves, thickening the lamplight. Mother
has them all inside her mouth & the wasps
singing make my face tingle, my ears
light up & glow. But wasps don’t make
honey, & the lamp is dripping with them. Mother
laughs. They all came back, she said,
Even though we sealed up the eaves
they came back. She hovers there
in her lacewing bathrobe, iridescent black
& fluttering. The neighbor’s lights flip on,
then wriggle back underground. My head
is thrumming with wasps, with their feet
tapping on the backs of my eyes.

Louisa Diodato received her M.F.A. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she co-founded Devil's Lake and served as its managing editor from 2009-2011. Her work has been published or is forthcoming from Rattle, Linebreak, Third Coast, Poet Lore, Cimarron Review and others. She currently lives in Columbus, Ohio.
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