My Little Odalisque

Loren Walker

Brambled thoughts, and bloodletting this morning

for young, long-gone infatuations: one, two, ten, or more.


Uncovered and hungover. my chest smeared with pink,

for the only ones who could ever flush my throat


and burn my collarbones with a written note.

Curse this violent blood uprising, these capillaries in full bloom.


How, in the light, a rash, a sunburned, stained with rum

that means nothing to no one, to anyone but me,


that fool, still mining at well-tinted memories,

of my little odalisque, lilac-veined and ever-waiting;


of those woman gods that got away, who dangle in the corners:

taunting me with their skeleton movement; the shadow of their claws;


before their plumage spreads adieu and out the door.

Bring forth the pungent fog that rolls over my scope,


to nestle in crevices, and cloud the synapses.

I know corpuscles, pink, and red;


how to scrub them out with the wash;

how to bleach into oblivion;


how to chew on peppermint,

and call for a new idol.



Loren Walker is a Pushcart Prize nominee; her poems have appeared in QU Journal, the West Texas Literary Review, River River, and other publications. She has published one chapbook of poems and illustrations, Dislocation, and is in the process of completing her second, strong-water, about the role of alcohol in culture. Loren is also an author of fantasy and science-fiction novels. Her website is