When sleep slips and the walls slip and the news
of the day is about who has slipped out of self
and into numeration, into a graph of a graph, this
is how we lose our breath. We lose it before
we make a call. We lose it in the bathroom
mirror, steamed by the shower so we are only
impressions of ourselves. We lose it trying to
say our names to ourselves like we believed
they were us. All the dates line up because all
the dates always line up. The calendar never goes
vertically or diagonally. We never do. We slip
gesture over photograph into percentages and rates
of infection. We slip into our jeans, into the sun-
light, into each other, into loss and its attending dim.
JOHN A. NIEVES has poems forthcoming or recently published in journals such as: North American Review, Copper Nickel, American Poetry Review, American Literary Review, and Southern Review. He won the Indiana Review Poetry Contest and his first book, Curio, won the Elixir Press Annual Poetry Award Judge’s Prize. He is an associate professor of English at Salisbury University and an editor of The Shore Poetry. He received his M.A. from the University of South Florida and his Ph.D. from the University of Missouri.