Two Poems by Kristina Mottla

Tending by Succulents

Aloe, sedum, fox tail agave,
painted echeveria
and their baby-plump cheeks,
their water-storing tissues,
a hillside tutorial on thriving
sunbeam-leashed or less.
Hardihood, longevity, reaction, analysis,
I see them coat the fat like rind,
the veins a secret trailing
my lifeline and pinned thorn-point
inward. Drying out to the brink,
pushing blooms through
near loss, I will only think the name.

On a hike I never venture—
rattlers under rock—
spiny glimmer, green satin, pearly
tips, sleek skin, warm center, swollen
flesh strike love pierce my chest
like primal life and make of me
a desert.


The Overlook

Rail-side, people bend
like angle rulers to ogle
the lower-stream fish rush
and its fleet of fins
and its snippets of shimmer
baiting the river to rise
halfway and offer more,

or they scan the landscape
as if it were Atlantis
dug up and displayed
so that some eyes fill and others
fall somber. One fan twitpics it
“not a fiction, but true”

Skyward, flocks of chatter
dive through blue
as a larger bird swallows
its distant kin,

wings, beaks, feet pushing

off canyon like fog

on a panorama settling up.


About the Poet

Kristina Mottla’s poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Barrow StreetBarnstormHartskill ReviewPotomac Review, and elsewhere. Her chapbook On Either Side of Rain (FLP) released in 2017.