How I love the look of you, the little white windows pausing my view
of the outside in order to show me my own breath. Even the mud bears
a lesson about stillness in the body of a frog whose breath slows to sleep
and survival. Frost-laced, gray-lipped, each day consumed by the art of holding
a lid of ice over all the bright spaces where life will lift its leaves. Later.
Like death–it is almost enough to believe–blooms from the body
and onto the earth that the body now is, a strange new green.
In Midlife I Feel a New Hunger
Consider it a nothing. Consider hunger an ache cradled against the skin until it pearls up and into a tooth. This is the mouth I use
to eat the world. This is the mouth through which I let exit the scream that the world does not permit. So many
things the world does not permit because the world refuses to acknowledge it is a collection of screams. Of gutters
and glitter sloughed off to trash. How many moments lie like this, a fish gutted by the hook that looked so much like a feeding?
This is the mouth I use to refuse the hook and its feeding. What the world told me about my own body is that its worth
belongs to what it can do for the world. A collage of asphalt and memory, shit shoveled off the sidewalks. The past
is not a ghost. It is a building scraping the rain off of the sky. A thousand clouds glower down as a man announces
there’s no such thing as rain. Why should my mouth stay closed just because it’s now closer to belonging to a ghost?
Consider a nothing as something. Consider the worth of a thousand fists, raised against what the world demands should be razed.
Emma Bolden is the author of three full-length collections of poetry, House Is An Enigma (Southeast Missouri State University Press), medi(t)ations (Noctuary Press) and Maleficae (GenPop Books), and four chapbooks. She received a 2017 Creative Writing Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. A Barthelme Prize and Spoon River Poetry Review Editor’s Prize winner, her work has appeared in The Best American Poetry, The Best Small Fictions, and Poetry Daily as well as such journals as the Mississippi Review, The Rumpus, StoryQuarterly, Prairie Schooner, New Madrid, TriQuarterly, Conduit, the Indiana Review, Shenandoah, the Greensboro Review, Feminist Studies, Monkeybicycle, The Pinch, and Guernica. She currently serves as Associate Editor-in-Chief of Tupelo Quarterly.