Cotton Xenomorph is a new literary journal produced with the mission to showcase new, and ecstatic art while reducing language of oppression in our community. We are dedicated to uplifting new and established voices while engaging in thoughtful conversation around social justice.

The Ambitions of Mice

by Robert Carr

Cleaning camp, we’d just
discussed how little dung
there was compared to  

other years. Yet, something
stank like death in the den.
We found them curled

on an inch of change,
at the bottom of a jar.
A 20 gallon jug where

we empty summer
pockets after ice cream.
Six small rodent bodies,  

congealed, all so sadly
stuck together. The bed
of pennies, a bright

verdigris, leaching under
leaked-out mice. What drew
them to the big glass jar

in winter? The copper smell
of pennies? Tang of death, the frantic
sound of other mice

scratching on thick glass?
Or just the fear that someone else
was scrambling in a bottle,

better off, hip deep in loose
change? We flip and shake the jug
over a tin pail. Coins clang.

The mice – dissolved, dried to
tooth and fur, a clinging clump, too
fat to clear the bottle neck.


Robert Carr is the author of Amaranth, published in 2016 by Indolent Books and The Unbuttoned Eye, a full-length 2019 collection from 3: A Taos Press. Among other publications his poetry appears in the American Journal of Poetry, Bellevue Literary Review, Crab Orchard Review, Massachusetts Review and Rattle. Robert is poetry editor with Indolent Books and an editor for the anthology Bodies and Scars, available through the Ghana Writes Literary Group in West Africa. Additional information can be found at robertcarr.org

Saint Ignatius

Pig