“Isolation // Description of Upstate New York” by Lisa Mottolo

In isolation, people can become stagnant lymph,
its thickness like Elmer’s glue
lining the corners of walls where hands touch
and gathering in the cracks of wood floors
with the small, missing beads and forgotten buttons.
I describe Schenectady by the cracks
in old buildings promiscuously dressed in nothing
but lead paint and dead, dry vines.
I sneeze blood for a few months a year now
that Hurricane Sandy brought new plant species
with the water that soaked crumbled sidewalks
beside the Hudson River.
Having been isolated for too long,
I may stagnate like an American,
their bodies of amber liquid, their stains
collected from coffee in paper cups,
their brown cigarette smoke from dark concerts
that sit in the creases of skin
until showered in hotels. 
I describe Albany by the yellow
lines of the road that stitch together two sides
like a zipper on a grey dress fit for Vogue.
I cry about the faint streetlights and stiff poles
because they feel like Christmas,
and I cry for the sun-damaged man’s limp
across the yellow- zippered road
because it feels like Christmas.

Lisa Mottolo is the project manager for Atmosphere Press and lives in Austin, TX. Her work has been published or is forthcoming in The Laurel Review, Santa Clara Review, Stonecoast Review, DIAGRAM, Little Patuxent Review,  Typishly, Counterclock, Typehouse Literary Magazine, Pine Hills Review, and others. Her debut poetry collection is forthcoming with Unsolicited Press. 

Image: “Red Barn Metaphor 1” by Nicole Monroe

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