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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

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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

poem

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

2
poem

The name of this technique,
he said,
is afternoon.

Then pressed his mouth
to her collarbone,

pressed his mouth
’til evening
broke the window.