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About this poet

Nicole Callihan is the author of Translucence, co-written with Samar Abdel Jaber (Indolent Books, 2018); Downtown (Finishing Line Press, 2017); The Deeply Flawed Human (Deadly Chaps, 2016); and SuperLoop (Sock Monkey Press, 2014). She teaches at New York University's Tandon School of Engineering and lives in Brooklyn, New York.

The Origin of Birds

For hours, the flowers were enough.
Before the flowers, Adam had been enough.
Before Adam, just being a rib was enough.
Just being inside Adam’s body, near his heart, enough.
Enough to be so near his heart, enough
to feel that sweet steady rhythm, enough
to be a part of something bigger was enough.
And before the rib, being clay was enough.
And before clay, just being earth was enough.
And before earth, being nothing was enough.
But then enough was no longer enough.
The flowers bowed their heads, as if to say, enough,
and so Eve, surrounded by peonies, and alone enough,
wished very hard for something, and the wish was enough
to make the pinecone grow wings; the wish was enough
to point to the sky, say bird, and wait for something to sing.

Copyright © 2016 by Nicole Callihan. “The Origin of Birds” was originally published in Rise Up Review. Used with permission of the author.

 

Copyright © 2016 by Nicole Callihan. “The Origin of Birds” was originally published in Rise Up Review. Used with permission of the author.

 

Nicole Callihan. Photo credit: Amanda Field.

Nicole Callihan

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

by this poet

poem

Our paper house sat
on the banks of the red river

and though mother
wasn’t like other mothers

I was like other girls
trapped and lonely

and painting pictures
in the stars. I was slick

with old birth or early longing,
already halfway between

who I wanted to be

poem

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

poem
& 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
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