Of leftover things. Of the place the bus used
to stop on the corner, here, before the express
route and how, dry or no, we would step out
into a puddle, the exhaust doing fog karaoke
around our ankles. Of the sensation of taking
a bath before my legs grew too long, before I
grew some silly dignity that wouldn’t let my skin
feel bubbles. Of Trinidadian roti on my tongue,
the warm potato smash, spices decorating my lips, you
using a knife because you’d need to be a snake
to open your mouth that wide. Of my jump shot
and my herky-jerky crossover. Of those early days
of independence, before the civilizing force
of hampers, when clothes lived in trash bags, when
antennae TV still could be had with the right
hanger. Of case studies. Of late night
paper sessions. Of cheap diner coffee
and long-term retail. Of 4 a.m. eyes,
wide before sleep. Of sleep.
Of the weight your head left
on my neck, how if I turn
it just so, I hear your breathing.
Of your breathing. Of these pocks on the ground.
Of the querent and the quesited. Of augury, impatient
divinations, the tail of the dragon.
John A. Nieves has poems forthcoming or recently published in journals such as: Cincinnati Review, Pleiades, Alaska Quarterly Review, The Literary Review, and Verse Daily. He won the Indiana Review Poetry Contest and his first book, Curio (2014), won the Elixir Press Annual Poetry Award Judge’s Prize. He is an Assistant Professor of English at Salisbury University. He received his M.A. from University of South Florida and his Ph.D. from the University of Missouri.