Sara Nicholson


The forest housed a dryad
though I figured
the wind would banish it
The economy, ever so secret,
whispered that oak is crueler
perchance than moss
The reader does not sway
but cradles the furniture
when she drinks too much
I’m partial to words
with an X and Y in them—
calyx, possibly sphinx
Our favorite Egyptologist
was born in the middle
of the nineteenth century
He drew lines on paper b/c
the rose in its sarcophagus
had yet to bloom

My own lament for fashion
involves not polyester
but muslin, velvet, crinoline
I’m a researcher and I
take fabric from the tombs
A whalebone skirt’s as good
as any summa theologica
Though the angels wouldn’t
vouchsafe us an outfit
to don in heaven, I’ll squat
here in my cradle of dirt

Today, there are no ghosts
maundering on about flowers
(thank god) and the most
romantic act will be
to make a website for you
Tonight, dear reader,
you’ll be trapped betwixt
schmaltz and forsythia
The very air will open
when you speak

Poems may be writ naturally
or by caesarean section
I embrace this maxim
as though it were a worm
What little I know
about the history of art
I’ve summarized as follows:
Lascaux’s in need of a gardener
Altamira’s a plume of smoke
The swan’ll go extinct
b/c the passenger pigeons
have set fire to the earth
A tree apologized for crying,
rued its mawkishness
We were stupid if we thought
that hyacinths would cure us
of our love for fire

Convinced of our value
we concoct our metaphors,
lash out at romance
Imagine, though, that this
were not a sentence
but a projector. That what
you’re witnessing is not
a flare-up per se, but
the collapse of some abstract
yet devastating trope

There are no stars to diagnose
the wonder we feel when
we look up at them
In springtime muscles’ll
grow on the trees
I reach my hands into your
seasonal affective disorder
only to discover that
the night has its idiom,
the insects their paper,
that the sky draws no pictures
we’re able to recognize
I suffer from neurasthenia,
the painter’s disease, besides
it’s not for you to kill me
I have a stomach in my heart


A graveyard is to the vernacular
as wildflowers are to incest.

I crouched last night in a patch of onions
and rubbed my fingers on a snake.

I grew tired of chaos, so I pointed my skull
in the direction of Alpha Centauri.

The snake grew wings like my father’s
before it hid them away in the dirt.

Rather than write you an elegy,
I’ll use the stars as mnemonic devices.

The grave didn’t chastise my parents.
It recycled them both into snakes.

So I’ll rub myself on a garden (hi mom).
I’ll rub myself in the earth (hi dad).

Sara Nicholson is the author of The Living Method (The Song Cave, 2014). She lives in the Ozark Mountains.

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