Counting backwards from ten, I’m lost

at one:  it was meant to calm me down, like

an apology or shaking the snow globe,

but I have to start again, replaying the song

that speaks to my reverie. I drift

from my wish, the candles, a burning forest

now. The pearl in the box, a piece of that

burning. Will I always be the sum

of my poverty? Last night, I woke

to that, from the dream of hammering

a copper star in a whitewashed room.

I hadn’t washed my hair for weeks. I guess

from the despair. It’s amazing:  after so little,

or so much, I think of the possibilities.




Nicole Greaves holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Columbia University, and a certification in secondary English from Bryn Mawr College. Her poetry has appeared in The American Poetry Review:  Philly Edition, Jacaranda, Calliope, Cleaver Magazine, Acentos Review, and Friends Journal, and she was recently a finalist for the Coniston Poetry Prize held by Radar Poetry. Her work has also been awarded prizes by The Academy of American Poets and the Leeway Foundation of Philadelphia. In 2003, she was the poet laureate of Montgomery County, Pennsylvania. Much of her work explores themes relating to tensions around acculturation, gender roles, and class. She teaches at The Crefeld School in Philadelphia.


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  1. Pingback: Table of Contents, Issue 14 | Matter

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