Skin Smooth—Laine Derr

Until her mother died,

she’d forgotten a thumb

calloused from killing –

an ant, hemolymph still warm.

an ant, even in death, fights.

an ant with boot cut jeans, sugar-coated throat.

Letting go: ashes sinking,

river stones longing for kind,

skin smooth from shining –

a body thinned with linseed oil.

a body eaten by shadows.

a body, ugliness is the beauty.

Born with a hole, her heart still misses its form.

The blackberry blossoms are late this year.


Laine Derr holds an MFA from Northern Arizona University and has published interviews with Carl Phillips, Ross Gay, Ted Kooser, and Robert Pinsky. Recent work has appeared or is forthcoming from Chapter House, ZYZZYVA, Portland Review, Oxford Magazine, Prairie Schooner, and elsewhere.