Nicole Rollender


Pears, immortal fruit, comfort me. How in Chinese, li is pear separating.
Corn husks, our bodies against.

Bees humming, my water broke nine weeks early, and the baby came.
For a woman

whose labor is long, for her exquisite ache, midwives spoon
sugar and aged

vinegar into her mouth, sweet brightening the sour. Or, they call out
to Margaret,

as if the saint of childbirth will place a hand on the locus of pain. Shhhh,
this is why

a baby is born now, to teach me about the forms resistance takes. Just as you,
stone, shone on the first

angel, a midwife strokes sard on thighs to make the baby come, so a child comes
forth a shining person.

Is there consolation in this suffering, as light falls between sycamore branches?
Does the flock

that leaves one drowned in the river ever forget, its black wings and shimmering eye?
Things are always

happening in the forest, flashes of feather and fur. We fail into departure,
such graceless creatures

carrying broken teeth. Yet, a singing through fontanel.

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, Harpur Palate, Radar Poetry, Salt Hill Journal, THRUSH Poetry Journal, and other journals, along with the Best New Poets anthology. She’s the author of the poetry chapbooks Absence of Stars (dancing girl press), Little Deaths (ELJ Publications) and Arrangement of Desire. She is the recipient of poetry prizes from CALYX Journal, Ruminate Magazine and Princemere Journal.

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