Nikkita Cohoon


I want to write a poem
about the way Winnie noses
her way into the first wind
of the morning,
the thrust of scent
that defines everything around her.

She noses the wind
she has defined this place
can account for strangers
for things unseen
for the angle of your missing
and the basil that has tipped on our patio

and the smallest things I could say
in the room of (quiet).

And everything shifted. This was not a spurring this was how it began. The smallest moments of clarity all begin with an “and.”

And in the room of quiet we made small lights of our fingertips. Words never entered there, only the things that have always existed. The skin on my lips is dry and I can taste cinnamon where the new flesh is exposed.

The smallest is this:
everything you can’t fit
in a ring box.
It is also mulled
and simmered
so the aftertaste
has its own voice
left untested.

(It floated by on the nicest Tuesday.)

And. There was our blanket
but our feet neither dry nor warm
we had to accept the chill.
Our mittened hands have slowed
they do not make the same sounds
do not carve homes into lovers’ bellies
or press the wrist until it glows white
with the pressure, instead
stay still in our laps
don’t flinch when flakes melt on knuckles and palms.

So I signed them--
not in any known language
but my fingers moved into shape--

I remember when cross-hatched lines filled my vision
how I saw them as the equation for everything.
What I learned of edges and their permeability.

I cut the proof.

My edges soaked with the loss.
Carve here
then kneel
where the plaster crumbles
at the base of the alter.

I let the shadows
have their say

I could have piled
so many things here.

I watch Winnie extend
beyond her own space

& consider what I should
be filling my time with.

And like I had before
I pictured
what I could not say.

I spread my arms
wide to make room
for the visions.

With connections, I could
show every one, thing
without a word.

Weeks later the after-image
still burns.

I looked into yesterday,
but mostly into oncoming Tuesdays.

And her arms stretch farther
to fill my place.

Nikkita Cohoon’s poems have appeared in elimae and The Bridge. Her artwork has appeared in Dear Camera Magazineand Mid-American Review. She is the online editor for Black Ocean.

No comments:

Post a Comment