Dying
Nicole Rollender
itself is easy. Wild birds call your name, the only one you have.
The mourning dove sings, sings from the honeysuckle.

I am a window. The light goes in and out: This cardinal saying your name
hits against my glass, its red-feathered wings an open wound

against my secret workings. Because you fed me your mother's
peasant soup, I don't know what spices mixed with salt

you spooned in, how many ways of being unhappy I ate. Tree marrow
under snow, pomegranate bleeding in my hands, you're in me:

I can't walk out. I never saw you in your casket—my body too full 
of a baby born after you died. Because I didn't

see you dead, I'll always see you alive. Your face in pots of boiling
water, the steam wetting my lips. If I open my mouth, you might speak.

You lift my window. You let the red bird in—it calls, calls your name,
and you step in between my bones. You hold onto my ribs.

My heart halting, not halting. You sleep lit in my body. 
How listening for your steps on my throat's long stairway

turns me away from this earth, and that kind of dying
never ends.
Nicole Rollender is assistant poetry editor at Minerva Rising Literary Journal and editor of Stitches. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Alaska Quarterly Review, Best New Poets, The Journal, Radar Poetry, Salt Hill Journal, THRUSH Poetry Journal, and others. Her first full-length poetry collection, Louder Than Everything You Love, is forthcoming from ELJ Publications. She is the author of the chapbooks Absence of Stars (dancing girl press & studio),Arrangement of Desire (Pudding House Publications) and Bone of My Bone, a winner in Blood Pudding Press's 2015 Chapbook Contest, forthcoming this year. She's the recipient of poetry prizes from CALYX Journal, Ruminate Magazine and Princemere Journal. Find her online at www.nicolerollender.com.


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Judith