Diagram of Daughter

Moments before the dreams began,

I’d hear the moths clink around in the walls

like bits of glass:


I had been there once already to remove

the rats from the crawlspace

and now the rats have wings

and their stories are different—

from scratching to clinking to

sounds dispersing through reeds and falling slow

to stones of onyx and charcoal red


fresh from the tumbler:


how I see it in the thin moment

between wake and sleep.


In 1988, my daughter skinned the family cat.

We sent her to a mental ward where

she watches mercury travel darkness—

like lotus through glass, pulling blood along.


In a letter once, she wrote:


In a glass box there you are on your hands and knees

watching the paint peel back from the walls,

the drawings they hold from a child’s

strangered longhand, all peeling back in flakes

of asbestos and lead based colors.


You like it that way, daddy. The toxicity.


You look through the bare glass, can hear my steps

light and thin and stretched real long.

They come in increments and slow to disembody—

sounds of fire ants charged with cocaine. 


And there I am, a flamenco dancer dancing in fog.

I creep with narrow strides. Fog the glass

with my breath and my finger passes right through.


But daddy, you must know, when I get out,

I will siphon you—



pulling a collapsed silk web from water.



Jacob Luplow grew up in Seattle, Washington. He is a current student at Cornell College, a writer and photographer, and he is currently working on a collection of poems titled “Like Lotus Through Glass” and a body of art titled “Di-Methyl Tryptamine.” His art has been featured in Subliminal Interiors.