John A. Nieves

Lesson
by John A. Nieves

Steadying the thick red
marker against the white
board, you wrote ostranenie
then finished the word
with a period. Your hand
was simultaneously a thin
branch in strong wind
and a hungry mongoose
dancing a snake to death.
The letters run so quickly out
of the word. I am also you
here, asking how new the wallpaper
or the conference table’s
cheap veneer. How they hold
the sheetrock and particle
board with such determination
like their job was their love,
was their body and flesh. Dear
new faded letters, may you stay
as long as you can in this room
and when your time comes, may
the eraser take you and keep you.

 

Published in Cider Press Review, Volume 20, Issue 3.

John A. NievesJohn A. Nieves 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.

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