Nissa Lee


She told me the world was flat
until man built warships. Then
God decided to revise his charts.

He folded the tanned map
until countries were thin
and piled atop one another.
Mountain ranges curled into sea urchins
deserts uncovered their foundations
rivers emptied into rain gutters
and the ships lost use of their anchors.

I expected her to speak of the unfolding,
the careful construction of space
within the creases of a globe,
the miracle of wells and volcanoes.

One day, she said, there will be no boat.
It will split and man will cling
to the driftwood, pray for some monster
to swim up and save them, eat them
before they go numb staring
at the horizon, how it swells.

How dare she speak of sea storms
while you tumble through me.
How dare she speak of the vacant,
broken vessels that will haunt this world.

Nissa Lee's poetry has appeared in Mason's Road, The Raleigh Review, Cleaver Magazine, Requited, Wicked Alice, and Philadelphia Stories with an honorable mention for the Sandy Crimmins Prize. She was also named a finalist for the 2013 Normal Prize in poetry. She teaches at Rutgers University–Camden and Rowan University.

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