Nina Pelaez

What is Near
by Nina C. Pelaez

The day after the roof tips,
I catch you at the edge. Leaning
up against the fence, waiting
to see this thing come down.

You’re just as you had been,
laughing at the misspelled letters
of your childhood in Indiana,
thin ring of ochre on the collar
of your soft and starch-white shirt.

It’s easy to ignore such minor catastrophes:
what tips and tumbles to the landscape
one day to the next. What holds and heaves.
What the body gives
without much consequence.

Hauling lumber from the yard
I stop trying to know
what I knew I never could.
At last—

I’m grateful we will never come back whole
and how I know so well the way
you might pass your hand against your face
but won’t.


Published in Cider Press Review, Volume 23, Issue 3.

Nina PelaezNina C. Pelaez is a poet, educator, and art historian living in North Adams, MA. She is currently an MFA Candidate in Poetry at the Bennington Writing Seminars as well the Curator of Public Programs and Interpretation at the Williams College Museum of Art. Her work has appeared in publications including the journals Goblin Fruit and Small Craft Warnings. Nina holds a B.A. in Art History and English Literature, with a Creative Writing emphasis from Swarthmore College and an M.A. in Art History from the Williams College Graduate Program in the History of Art.

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