Carl Wycoff CC
People report angels appearing, luminous
in Ukraine’s skies, as they wake
into the blessed, savage light.
The things mercy can be: wind winging
pink through our crooked plum trees,
uncovering a collapsed classroom,
a statue of Our Lady of Perpetual Help
and children holding rosaries, all untouched.
Strawberry plants sprouting near the spot
where we buried the cat, the wild hope
he could paw back up through the dirt.
When you said, on the edge of slumber,
“miss the bones,” instead of “miss the boat.”
You’re a ghost in a body. My joys in your dark
mist. One vast hour purpling to eternity.
As I keep searching for my sins, like stones
in the ocean, I remember the saint who said,
“Those are the stars I’ll walk on someday.” As if
I could go back. As it turns out, you can’t
get the ghost out of your system. The priest
in the church by the lakes tells me today
my wrongdoings are a drop of water
in a furnace.
A 2017 NJ Council on the Arts poetry fellow, Nicole Rollender is the author of the poetry collections, The Luster of Everything I'm Already Forgetting (Kelsay Books, 2023) and Louder Than Everything You Love (Five Oaks Press), and four poetry chapbooks. She has won poetry prizes from Palette Poetry, Gigantic Sequins, CALYX Journal and Ruminate Magazine. Her work appears in Alaska Quarterly Review, Best New Poets, Ninth Letter, Puerto del Sol, Salt Hill Journal and West Branch, among many other journals. She's managing editor at THRUSH Poetry Journal. Nicole holds an MFA from the Pennsylvania State University. Visit her online: www.nicolemrollender.com.
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