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Three poems by Lake Angela

Updated: Sep 28, 2022


My first language, water, was driven

from me by steadfast threats of sulfur.

Guilt stares at me from my ghost, yellow

holes in the head, hands, feet.

The hermitess on the river’s cleft lip

in her blue gown clean with mud

was hired as a beggar

and licensed to pray.

The long-separated souls of the mountain

lilies sing an antiphonal dirge for their bygone

petals. Faceless, the ghost rushes back

between my legs.

What People Say to Me When My Stomach Shrinks

It’s for the best—the baby would be taken away because you have DID.

Why did you believe you could continue to dance? Did you also leap?

You must not be quite strong enough. Maybe your vagina is weak.

This is the consequence of using birth control before. Maybe God

doesn’t want you to be a parent. Everything happens for a reason:

maybe this is your punishment; maybe it is a trial. It is irresponsible

of you to choose not to eat other creatures when your babies needed

your meat; life is about more than just you, you know. It was God’s will.

Was the miscarriage elective? You carried it wrong. At least you carried

it longer this time. It’s probably for the best—you might have hurt

your children because schizoaffective people are violent. There was

probably something wrong with it, and it’s better not to have a child

with Down syndrome or with conditions like yours. You can always

adopt; children in the foster system are troubled already. Maybe God

has other plans for you. You only had surgery on your uterus; you should

try harder. You can try again. Think of this as cleansing your system

for a real child.


Unable to balance them all in her own opened arms,

the ghosts of birds cling to her neck with stark feet

and razor beaks. She trails her fear behind her,

and as she winds down each red corridor

leaves a little tremor in every cell, an eternal string

of softly genuflecting blood

that does not lead back.

She is the wordless poet with white feathered throat;

the quill crimsons her gullet to regurgitate

the wrong writing. Known by her Latin name,

Hippomane, the little apple that makes horses mad,

she draws the North American forest into being.

She weans the next savior on the poison secretions

of the blue otter, leaves him beneath the manchineel,

his mother’s minor breast. Even the sap crackles,

blistering and blinding us.

The mother of all rises and resumes her journey.

Banished from too many worlds, she keeps silence,

yet echoes resound. They are the tantrums

and hunger pangs of the suckling God

left alone for this eternity.

Lake Angela is a poet, translator, and dancer-choreographer who creates at the confluence of verbal language and movement. She holds a PhD in the intersemiotic translation of Austrian Expressionist poetry into dance and has her MFA in poetry. She is a medieval mystic, beguine, and nonhuman creature. Her full-length books of poetry, Organblooms (2020) and Words for the Dead (2021), are available from FutureCycle Press. Lake is poetry editor for the international literature and arts journal Punt Volat and an executive contributor for the Swedish publication Brainz Magazine. As director of the poetry-dance group Companyia Lake Angela, she presents the value of schizophrenia spectrum creativity. You can visit her at

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