By Nicole Rollender
birds the swoops of cathedrals. How bright is death? The thought of its gallop
makes all things begin again. A bee tangling its feet in wild honey, the godly
hum of aglow wings. When I imagine my grandmother cocooned in purgatory,
she swims alone in an empty room of twilight, not knowing how she got there. A
blackout. Or where a door might open. How easy for her to leave, eyes rolling
up as Ave Maria floated from the radio. Now, I pray for her release into heavenly
ether. I’m still here, otherwise, if not for a surrounding grace. If not for the radiant
eye of my God. If not for thinking death is me actually being born. Then, that door
cracks. The magenta leaves blowing around our house. The birds shadowing. Wind.
How easy it is for the next snow to cover my tracks. My mouth a hungry ghost.
A 2017 NJ Council on the Arts poetry fellow, Nicole Rollender is the author of the poetry collection, 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. Nicole is managing editor of THRUSH Poetry Journal, and holds an MFA from the Pennsylvania State University. She’s also co-founder and CEO of Strand Writing Services. Visit her online: www.nicolemrollender.com.