Caolan Madden

Poetics of Loneliness

The silence, the league of witches.
The clean bed. I am no man’s
that unclaimed feeling.

Moonlit meadow, crooked tree.
Is it confessional. Is it persona.
To invest instead in information
somehow not processed by a body

The words deformed by a throat and
the fingers deformed by words,
the slick of fat on the cauldron

Once or twice under the winter sky,
midwinter, gold window. Summer,
a roof, once or twice. A candle
changes a face. A body the snow.

Your Mother Wasted a Year

Your mother drank nine million tequila gimlets

Your mother wanted them foamy

Your mother read Fifty Shades of Grey

Your mother walked up Rugby Road feeling restless feeling that teenage feeling feeling spoiled

Your mother walked up Rugby Road singing Summer is ready/when you are and it was summer

Your mother walked up Rugby Road listening to Summer is ready/when you are and it was technically the last day of winter/the magnolia bulbs were hard knobs against the gray sky/you were a hard knob against your mother’s pelvis/she lifted her feet one by one by

Your mother’s manicure was Blue-Away and impeccable

Your mother’s lipstick was NSFW

Your mother drank seven Estonian beers

Your mother poured that year down the drain like the coffee in A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

Your mother knew that waste is luxury

Your mother said I don’t want to grow up I want to spoil

Your mother didn’t want to lose weight

Your mother didn’t want to do homework

Your mother didn’t want to lean in

Your mother didn’t want to preregister for daycare

Your mother lost touch with all her friends

Your mother only played video games

Your mother leveled up but not IRL

Your mother held the domestic record for longest quickening chain in Final Fantasy XII

Then your father achieved the same score but only after

Your mother knows it’s mean to say the year in which you were conceived is a year she wasted

Your mother knows that now that you, the trace of you, exists, she can never waste anything again

Your mother knows that “can never” means “should never” but also “will never be able to”

Your mother knows that “she can never” means “she is not”

Your mother knows that when you made your shape known she folded up her I

Your mother holds you in her pocket like a ticket

Your mother could not lift her head from the sofa on New Year’s Eve

Your mother said why didn’t anyone invite me anywhere for New Year’s Eve

Your mother used to think what if I threw myself under a truck

Your mother thinks what if I let you kill me

Your mother painted your room blue because you’re supposed to be a girl

Your mother was denied financing

Your mother walked up Rugby Road and “Pretty Good Year” came on and she thought

Your mother used to feel bad about the boys she couldn’t love

Your mother knows you are her opus

Your mother wrote you all over her diary

Your mother put you on her google calendar

Your mother knows she will get the reminder

Caolan Madden has an MFA from Johns Hopkins and is currently a PhD candidate in English literature at Rutgers. Her poems and essays have appeared in Bone Bouquet, Black Warrior Review, Split Lip, Anthropoid, and WEIRD SISTER. VAST NECROHOL, a chapbook-length poem in the form of a video game, is forthcoming from Hyacinth Girl Press.
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About Posit Editor

Susan Lewis ( is the Editor-in-chief and founder of Posit ( and the author of ten books and chapbooks, including Zoom (winner of the Washington Prize), Heisenberg's Salon, This Visit, and State of the Union. Her poetry has appeared in anthologies such as Walkers in the City (Rain Taxi), They Said (Black Lawrence Press), and Resist Much, Obey Little (Dispatches/Spuyten Duyvil), as well as in journals such as Agni, Boston Review, The Brooklyn Rail, Conjunctions online, Diode, Interim, New American Writing, and VOLT.