Spiritus Mundi

Before the song closes I start it again:  
there are 37 minutes of this meant to flame memory 

so that it can be shrouded once more. True friends 
know this phenomenon. Truer friends forgive me for it. 

Like how I apply the wrong lipstick, a bright red 
that washes out my face, just because I want it 

to be right, like the color in A Portrait of a Girl 
with a Rose in Her Hair.  I live in a concord of want:

it’s the best & worst place to be, like sleeping. I stand 
up against its door for hours, that in-between. Outside, 

August shadows overhead like a carnival tent, the smell 
of fresh hay after rain, and the feeling there are animals 

close, like holding a trinket. Inside, the sherry glasses, 
white streams of paper, & drawers I can’t shut. This life 

halved like a nut. Was there always so much dust? 
A younger me would relinquish all of these books. 

She slips out to ride the amusement park spaceship 
where she spins, animated zoetrope, mouth rising 

& falling like hysteria, the sun slicing her face. Her treaty 
issued in captivity: she doesn’t want me to come, nor fall.


Nicole Greaves holds an MFA from Columbia University and an M.Ed. in special education. Her poetry has appeared in numerous literary reviews and was awarded prizes by The Academy of American Poets and the Leeway Foundation of Philadelphia. She was a 2015 finalist for the Coniston Prize of Radar Poetry, who also nominated her for The Best of the Net. She was a 2020 finalist for the Frontier Digital Chapbook Contest and the Dogfish Head Poetry Contest. Nicole is a former poet laureate of Montgomery County, Pennsylvania and lives right outside Philadelphia, where she teaches English and creative writing at The Crefeld School. 


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