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Alexandra Umlas


My mother, who is not the squeamish kind,
does not wear lipstick, doesn’t twist her hair,
wears mother bras and mother underwear;
and often in her garden you will find
her planted, when her arm begins to wind,
and suddenly she pitches out from there –
a snail. It hits the pavement, cracks, her stare
is steely in the starlit yard that’s vined
and weedless. Night lies thick against the squash
she’s saved. She walks inside, begins to wash
the soil from her hands with lemon soap.
Its bright scent drifts a moment, and I hope
that after I am kissed and tucked in bed,
she’ll go outside—make sure that it’s dead.

This poem first appeared in Lipstick Party Magazine (November, 2017).
Used here with permission.


Alexandra Umlas lives in Huntington Beach, CA with her husband and two daughters, who inspire much of her writing. She loves teaching, reading, and taking road trips. Alexandra's first collection of poetry, At the Table of the Unknown, was recently published by Moon Tide Press. Learn more about her at









Post New Comment:
I love this sonnet that started as a child.
Posted 05/06/2020 11:57 AM
I don't know the mom, but the daughter is a stellar poet and person. Alexandra's book is terrific. A pleasure to see her work here.
Posted 05/06/2020 10:25 AM
Love it!!!
Posted 05/06/2020 09:48 AM
I just love that this unconventionally conventional poem about a mother who doesn�t wear lipstick was published in Lipstick Party. And I still smell the lemon soap, which I find myself using with unexpected frequency. Great fun!
Posted 05/06/2020 09:36 AM
michael escoubas:
The best poems come out of ordinary experiences made extraordinary!! Nicely crafted sonnet Alex!
Posted 05/06/2020 08:37 AM
An unusual little sonnet. Very playful in its use of words and imagery.
Posted 05/06/2020 08:29 AM
Larry Schug:
A lot to like about this poem--its unforced rhyme, not overdone, the way the words engage multiple senses, the insight into the mother and daughter, and, dare I say it, the "killer" ending.
Posted 05/06/2020 08:06 AM

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