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Recorded for Poem-a-Day, June 16, 2016.
About this Poem 

“I’ve been thinking about the things we can’t shake—the people, the memories, the habits that return to us over and over. Just when we think they’re gone, they come back to us in some other form. Best, it seems, to acknowledge and welcome them; to ride the wave until, inevitably, it’s gone again.”
—Nicole Callihan

The End of the Pier

I walked to the end of the pier
and threw your name into the sea,
and when you flew back to me—
a silver fish—I devoured you,
cleaned you to the bone. I was through.
But then you came back again:
as sun on water. I reached for you,
skimmed my hands over the light of you.
And when the sky darkened,
again, I thought it was over, but then,
you became water. I closed my eyes
and lay on top of you, swallowed you,
let you swallow me too. And when
you carried my body back to shore—
as I trusted that you would do—
well, then, you became shore too,
and I knew, finally, I would never be through.

Copyright © 2016 by Nicole Callihan. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on June 16, 2016, by the Academy of American Poets.

Copyright © 2016 by Nicole Callihan. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on June 16, 2016, by the Academy of American Poets.

Nicole Callihan. Photo credit: Amanda Field.

Nicole Callihan

Nicole Callihan is author of Translucence, co-written with Samar Abdel Jaber (Indolent Books, 2018).

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& of the lattermath I can only say 
that with the rain the cattails grew so high 
that the longing nearly subsided
this morning I am all moonshine on the snowbank
clockwise back to a better self I am
tenderfoot daisywheel though yesterday I was
warpath and daydreams of underfoot animals
o my fishhook in
2
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My mother says the sound haunted her.
She thought an animal had crawled under her bed
and that it was hurt. Every night for a week,
the whimpering woke her. Mornings, she reached the long hand
of the broom underneath the dust ruffle but it came out clean.
The pillow where her head had

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that winter it was so cold
I had nowhere to go but inside

my heart was a clock on the kitchen wall
and I tacked up curtains to keep

anyone from looking in on my liver
up river  snow kept coming

and the aching thing ached still
husband it was yours for the taking

I clanged