up to no good.
how long? how long
will you put up
put out

shoulder blades
heavy sunburnt
gold nugget eyes

wild, wild west

gold chips staining
pink fluorescent
markers in my blood

the show

the dna complete

you could get fake
fake is cheaper

10K 20K

glistening calling out

gold chipped teeth
ignore the pleas

diamond chips
lifetime warranty
she said


miners aren’t meant to last
that long

she knows. she knows.
mining camp
if you could call it that
is gone. nothing.

airbrushed tan.
red air earth clay
truth a fall fade. a fast reach. head

the weight of it all
jaws loose teeth grinding

dark eyes under pink moons
ridges, rims
too tired to take bio
of the eclipse, the ellipse
the lake
passing around
for the referee

just as loose

not butterflies but moths
mothballs in a mason jar
homemade mothballs.
shaking decision. decisions.
discredit. discredited.
time. yet, all the time.

then, I’ll pass. I’ll. pass. pass.

cards on table.
full freeways. bow ties.
casino crowd cheers.



Stella Santamaria’s poetry has been published in The Stray Branch. She attended the Hedgebrook Writing Workshop and the Zelda Glazer Writing Institute. She performed spoken word in New York City (2009) for the Ultimate Latina Festival at the Nuyorican Poets Café. That same year she was interviewed for the CNN documentary Latino in America to talk about her experience as a Latina artist. Currently, I am pursuing an MFA in Creative Writing Poetry at Saint Mary’s College of California, studying with Brenda Hillman, past Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets. She works as a freelance writer and developmental copy editor as well.