Poetry by Amy Kotthaus ∗ Art by Gary Plummerpeak-sketch-mixed-media-on-paper-20-3cmx25-4cm



My eyes turn down,

from what’s in my blood

or watching your mouth

I do not know.

You passed your pack

down to my mother,

but she declined,

so I must shoulder it.

Bent and top heavy,

it makes me clumsy,

each pebble a boulder.

I create an ascent

of every downward slope.

Balancing the burden

ready to lurch

either way, me with it,

over the edge, off the path.

Even in all that tumbling,

the weight will not be shaken.

Passers-by stop throwing lines

I cannot grip with hands greased

from clutching my hair.

I will dig them into the dirt

and claw my own way

up this peakless mountain.




Twice she was approached

by a devil on the train,

pushing pamphlets, raving

of end times he didn’t know

had come and gone.

The rabid lilt of his sermons

worked a soporific.

She woke on Saturday

to find Mephistopheles

well-dressed at the door,

prepared to pray for the soul

he wished her to gift.

No time to entertain him,

she had fiends of her own making

singing her name in verse,

while Old Nick lay in bed.


Synaptic Ghosts


My pilgrim journey

is undulating fog.


The remembrance of cold

well water, quicksilver earth.


Visions of the future are

viscous ambiguities.


It curls my hair

and dampens my clothes.


Each day brings a lamp

to burn off the mist.


Those vaporous hands

I’ll never hold.

Bow River Valley mixed-media-on-canvas
Bow River Valley mixed-media-on-canvas

Perpetual Motion Machine


When it’s too much

perpetual motion machine,

I want to peel off my skin

and clean the sinew

and muscle from my bones.

You do the same, and lie

down here with me below

the white thread roots,

in the cool, quiet earth.

Let the land fill herself

in over us.

Wrap your skeleton arm

around mine; I’ll bend my leg

to rest on yours.

Sleep silent and still.

lake louise alberta: mixed-media on canvas
lake louise alberta: mixed-media on canvas

The Evangelist


In the dark, you bid them

speak in tongues.

Come morning, you shed them,

dried out skins.

Sketch of one of the three sisters peaks canmore (mixed-media-on-paper)



the point of V

will slice across

cut my tongue

to say the word

blood will spill

stain my lips

red in public

Morning Canmore mixed-media-on-paper
Morning Canmore mixed-media-on-paper

Bio:  Amy Kotthaus is a writer, translator, and photographer. Her work includes poetry, Latin translation, and black and white photography. She received her B.A. from the University of Southern Maine, and she currently lives in Maine with her husband and children

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