Toxicological Investigation for Missing Home

 Laurel Rose Milburn




Constructing a memory palace. A

bedroom the length of a shoestring

width of breath. There is a line that is her face. Pencil case.

Sharpens menstrual cramps and sweat. Swell like summer.

Fresh. Morning shellfish from the dock. Waves in the bathtub. Yellow fern.

Thigh with blue blood. Pale cigarette. Those tiny veins keep growing. Give.

A secret safety word. I don’t know her tongue, here

are pomegranates for elbows. Ice the shattered paint.

Pre-washed spinach in the bag, like be normal.

Have friends. Drink ginger beer make mediocre awkward fun.

All the parts of a pillow watch the slope of sex

by a floor mat in the garage.

Close the trunk. What time is it?




Smack lips when chewing.

Teeth fall out in dreams.

The cab driver’s wife makes Ouija boards while I

practiced making blueberry pies

from scratch in Greenville.

Steam from the roof in my peripherals

looked like people.




It is so stunningly simple that we should be here,

exhausted and waiting for the stress to burst into bricks

& fall upon our shoulders, undoing the damage of a desk job.

See: Application To Marry The Wind. The small caves churning.

The old sock drawer I bought at Salvation Army caught bed bugs,

and fell out the window of the high rise downtown by Cantinas, by the Marriott.




If I ever figure out what we’re doing here,

it will be too late –




I’m sorry

I cannot tell you why

when it rains I pull

a box of jars behind

me to the pit.




Green tea middle-of-the-day sober. Rosemary for redness. Pink

cream. Munching a bran muffin. She finds

the first man with a car. Maybe Tuesday. Maybe

a rounded chair with no armrests. Third person.

Narrative: I don’t think you know her. She know the basics

of knives. There are many ways to cut a chicken. (This has become

her favorite.) Find the joint where the thigh meets the carcass.



Some tools are too obvious to mention.




Behead a field snake in the crib. Bull Run composing snow sheds

along the quarry. Deer prints. Edge where tire chains knife ice

in grassy cubes. Make me in the kitchen.




On my hands and knees. Lapping ink. Wrung from the fan

that happens to hurt more symmetrically than I remember. AB. C. DEF.

GHI. J. The sound of a billowed page.




Shut the fuck up and cry wolf.

Wolf wolf wolf.

Baa Baa black sheep.

Have you any wool?

Yes sir yes sir.

Three bags full.


Laurel Milburn headshotLaurel Rose Milburn was raised in the wooded outskirts of Pittsburgh, PA. She holds her BA in English and Spanish at Florida Southern College. Currently, she is an MFA candidate in poetry at Columbia College Chicago.





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