Nathaniel Mohatt

My wife called me the day after her grandfather died, ecstatic and vibrant after a visit to a gallery with paintings by Benny Carter. In 2008, while staying at the MD Anderson Cancer Center with my father, I spent two days visiting with Rothko, Twombly, Rauschenberg, Newman, Dawoud Bey. Afterward, I lied down on grass, enraptured with the clouds and children’s swings. While standing on a balcony above the Nenana River surrounded only by trees, mountains, and the river, I begged for a demon to seize my hands.

Web site:


  • NIDA Postdoctoral Fellow at the Yale School of Medicine, primary project investigates the relationship between community arts and substance abuse recovery.
  • Honorable mention, 2007 Alaska Statewide Poetry Contest, Fairbanks Arts Association.
  • Agnes Butler Scholar, 2002-2003 Saint Mary’s College of California.


  • Big Bridge
  • BorderSenses
  • Camas
  • Jack Magazine
  • Literary House Review



A man in a red robe bends
by a lake to fill cupped hands
and drink from the white mirror;
a salmon egg and slate butterfly
slices through the foreground.
No matter the expanse
on which I meditate,
I cannot shed your pale shoulders.



She found him with glued back
black hair ranting about

rainbow phones and falling off
the rollercoaster of fire hydrants

off their dreams of faux-gray
sheep and apple fritters

of cowboy boots and drowning
in Volkswagens of North Carolina

heroes weeping in Bollywood.
She kept to the dancing act

with needles his calligraphic
stones her lizard tongue

flicked at the blue ribbon
they won in the bear claw

division. She wore wine
while he sprouted wings.


Folk art

She returns with purple heads
fluorescent eyes a skyscraper-

scene surrounded by taxis
a catalog of durable art

ready-to-wear roller derby
a heart of glass and a mind

of crystal she returns with
the walls of an art gallery

a pink garter on her hip
a limp a lick a garden show

returns me to the scene
of escape its grass breasts

encased in a brick middling
its metal wings bouncing

class photo signals strung
light post to light post

on the other side of the freeway
its neon showcase infusing

my skin with many colors
with one more day

of Cuban cuisine and clay
with one more walkway

of air and playgrounds of
walking and walking and

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a typo that became a literary publication


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