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Unterberg Poetry Center

Christopher Nickelson

(for s. grant, d. stern, e. subrin)

In the hyperbole I see each bone, each inch of skin,
every muscle. I see where and how they connect.

When I was a kid in Chicago, I never played Doctor.
I always knew I'd grow up to be patient.
Once they

put you in, it's always impossible to fly out again.
The kid took my joke, treated me like I was dyslexic,

reversed my reversal back, and told me who her mother was.
She threw herself into romance. Light bursts forth into

darkness. Water cleanses the soul. The explanation ruins it.
She sat, waiting for the pay-off. Her head floats above her

shrinking body. Swallow. Don't swallow. The pressure on
your mind to repress—what the rest of us call forgetting.

Look for the other sister, the lost sense of meaning.
I bring her down with me and she sighs. You can't read

anymore. You tell the doctor words will not stay in your head or
the space between your legs. I watch my feet as I walk

down the street. The name doesn't sing, the song; not even
the ones you might recognize. It's hard to pinpoint the start.

Don't be so surprised. Patients and therapists are like
the cops and the Mafia. Two sides of the same coin.

Right in my mouth, the blood would turn back into wine.
They always say I'm too kind. What seemed remarkable,

was not that you had loved a woman, but that you had
loved a woman so imprecise.

Christopher Nickelson is a writer and teacher living in Brooklyn, NY and has attended Howard University and New School University.

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Please note that all 92Y regularly scheduled in-person programs are suspended.