Golden pollen, horseshoe & sickle. Old iron stench
steamed to song.
Outside a fieldstone & red Gettysburg barn, you mouth,
I’m no one
& hand this fruit-stained bible back to the tour guide.
Left to rot,
a barn without its body: in its leaf, Return to Foster Killingsley’s
family, if found.
A man who’s called missing until the world’s end. When
bones rise out of these pastures. When we call ourselves
you want is new words for all the old things. No,
new names for the same old things. Why can’t you wake
in your sunlit
bed three decades ago, body clean-pressed as a father’s
Your grandparents hadn’t yet crossed evening’s fields, woolen-
toward a far gate. Blowing through a flock of sheep,
where we leave
our dead. They’re a homeward wind & we’re broken.
There’s no difference
between fairies & angels, your daughter says, because they
me at night. One day, she might cast away all winged
things, but now
they open their mouths and spill light & sea brine
into her path. Still,
you tell yourself your deep blue center isn’t—it’s not
your mother loving
you less than the boys. Naming it something else doesn’t
change anything. Or
starve it. At night, can you tell your hand from mine?
Your daughter renamed
her angel 100 times– Indigo, Christian, Hand of God.
you’ve read her naming list, you can’t tell her your secrets
yet: an angel
somewhere misses a body—he never walked
in a misting cornfield. A nail never lodged in his sole.
A 2017 NJ Council on the Arts poetry fellow, Nicole Rollender is the author of the poetry collection, Louder Than Everything You Love (Five Oaks Press), and four poetry chapbooks. She has won poetry prizes from Gigantic Sequins, CALYX Journal, Princemere Journal and Ruminate Magazine. Her work appears in Alaska Quarterly Review, Best New Poets, The Journal, and West Branch, among others. She’s managing editor of THRUSH Poetry Journal and holds an MFA from the Pennsylvania State University. Visit her online: www.nicolerollender.com.