My poem, “The Nightmare’s Hand” was published in the book, Women Write Resistance: Poets Resist Gender Violence, edited by Laura Madeline Wiseman, Hyacinth Girl Press, 2013.


The Nightmare’s Hand


Still swimming in night-milk

you watch like a movie

the lived dreams of your childhood

and grandma

putting out plates of food in her kitchen


The memory of that soft-edged blackness

steals furry in your brain

You can see it

on the inside

of your skull bone

on the private side

of your forehead

the soft black cloud

like the deadly creep

of a flameless fire

that seductively kills


There’s a rocking of the bed

and under the elastic of your striped pajamas

a hand creeps

You remember the finest of black hairs

on the knuckles


That’s why the animals crouch in burrows

in the small hollows of your mind

awake in the night


That’s why they huddle there

in the darkened hole of memory

until light cracks

Then, only then

do they creep from their small, secret holes

to find the knots of green to eat

and you the faces of yellow eggs

and the coughing sharpness of toast


Claire Ortalda