Nicole F. Kimball

May 20, 2022


A mother strokes the guiding light.
As the silver wolf grays,
a flora clears the wooden meadow.

Swanned neck, belled nape —
I stand above the crowd
looking for dusk.

Only rainfall holds the shape of water.
The petals inside this rain are drowsy.
The rain is humming just above —

this light will not last.
The gummed thickets will not move.
Magicians grow sourdough bread,

and still the mother’s deep breast
is raw. Maybe the melons that grow
underground are waiting to be born,

like air fighting for the last lung.
Maybe the ground is only meant for burial.
I don’t know. I didn’t ask.

I try to reap the limitlessness of a wolf.
A heavy limber coccyx sleeps on the needle.
Death is beginning. The death of a death

begins in selfish light.
I bend at the hip; knees go backwards.
The crux leaps from start to finish.

A teeny-tiny dancer holds the shape of the rain.
An empty bowl beside a lake is filled
with lacquer. A rhombus-shaped muzzle

covers the snake. The wound rarely clotted.
Did it heal? Did it burn?
Symmetrical giants form barricades

between the thin line of sapping tissue and
the ethereal world. Outside, each snowflake
is unique. The sun fists the Earth's core.

She must be brave, the mother.
See? My body may remain my own.

I ask again how a mother strokes each
guiding light.

Nicole F. Kimball (she/her) is a Jewish bisexual poet from SLC, UT. Her pieces are published and forthcoming in Sunspot Lit, Mom Egg Review, Sky Island Journal, 12 Mile Review. She has an undergraduate degree in Creative Writing and was the recipient of the Pat Richards Joe Beaumont Scholarship. Nicole is a submission reader for Seaglass Lit.