you fill my throat
with smoke. I taste the flames
shimmy across my tongue’s
meridian. You are not
one of the tastes
it is programmed to process.
my breath. I exhale you worded.
I keep trying to caption this
picture of you: [White
copal, ground fine, sizzling
on charcoal, making myth roomful.] [Girl with no shadow confronts the sun.] [Ash speckled with ice
from old fire.] [One flower petal, maroon,
swirling seaward a thousand miles
from the sea—velveteen—knowing.] [A self-addressed, stamped 3×5,
wet with waiting, lines
on only one side.] [Light is clear until it hits
something. It takes dust
to make color. It takes collision
for us to see objects at rest.]
John A. Nieves has poems forthcoming or recently published in journals such as: Indiana Review, Southern Review, Hayden’s Ferry Review, New York Quarterly, Ninth Letter, Poetry Northwest, and Cincinnati Review. He won the 2011 Indiana Review Poetry Prize and the 2010 Southeast Review AWP Short Poetry contest. He received his PhD from the University of Missouri in 2012.