Nickole Brown, “What I Did, II”


In the squealing creak
of a yellow school bus
I made baby feet
in the morning fog windows,
the side of my fists and ten
thumbprints down.

I wiped them away, breathed on the glass,
made others

with higher arches, rounder heels,
perfect going-to-market toes.
I wiped those away, breathed on the glass,
tried again, then wiped, breathed,
tried again,
tried again.

From Sister, a “novel-in-poems” that’s also a debut collection. I first met Nickole in her capacity as the marketing director for Sarabande Books, but of course this is a completely different side to her creative passions. It’s a cliché to saw that poems dealing with an emotionally traumatic past are “raw,” and in this case it would be particularly inappropriate—this burst of expression has clearly been burning within Nickole for some time, and we’re the ones who are lucky that she’s brought it out of the kiln.

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2 January 2008 | poetry |