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Editor's Note



Three Poems

by Nicole Gervasio

Simple Offerings

Under the dogwood
the boy with the itch
in his brain reads

while his hands play
an invisible violin
absently in the air

alongside his thigh.
The girls here call
him blunt, ugly things,

though the words
never leave their lips;
nevertheless, the syllables

bounce between his ears.
Pretty pigtails walks past
him, and he winces

as she stops. From
her palm falls a gala
apple, circling the grass

like a coin. "For you,"
she kneels, rolling
the apple gingerly

across a few dead leaves.
Expecting a trick,
he inspects it

and finds a soft spot,
perilous as a fontanel,
and a worm hole dug

into its side. Ripe with shame
she yanks the fruit away
while he pounds the ground,

guffawing and crying,
the music in his head
vacated, only the thump

of the apple replaying
without rewind. In her purse
she rifles for another apple

and locks it into his hands.
Looking up, he sees tears
in her eyes; suddenly

he knows that green:
her heart is full of worms,
and it glows.

Your Compound Daylight, Olafur Eliasson c. 1998

Up: a direction far beyond wanting, where
light shivers at the mouth of this manmade throat
and your eyes are searching for a shaft of truth.
Sculpture of glass, shaped

like a loudspeaker, lips bent towards the sky,
it showers a hundred honeycombs of dawn,
a kaleidoscope over your upturned face
warming your vision,

now transformed: eyes so abruptly arachnid.
Some of the mirrors are more forgiving than
others, their mean tricks of light making you look
haggard and deformed.

When someone first hoisted this to the ceiling
of the Modern Museet, you were ten years
old and frightened in another country called
Home. In the grey dusk

of the steaming shower, your father fell back,
head smacked against the bathroom tile with eyes
like pearls. Above, light held strong while his body
thunderously shook.

Your mother tried to abbreviate his loss,
M.S., as if the letters could gleam with a
meaning, not even beneath this radiant upward
tunnel to God’s ground.

Now, you look up into this prism of art
to see the dark matter of his face, so few
reflections left unlit. You have his eyes, these
mirrors never lie.

On Her Brother’s Second Posthumous Birthday

Your guitar stutters
as we sit on far
ends of the couch,
two girls on a seesaw


Some moments, I see
the arch of that bone
contouring your blush,
the blue of your eye

and I remember, yes,
there is someone living

in there. This moment,
your cheekbone
curves so prominently
under the halogen
glow that I imagine

prying it from your face
and using it as a spoon.

I would tongue you
clean, until there were
no more malignant
memories digging those
shallows beneath your eyes.

Two girls rock on a seesaw,
and the grass feels like a palm held
out to catch their bare
feet. They've never known
anyone who died.

You change the channel,
ask me why I'm looking
at you so
intently. I can't say

the truth, how I'm re-
membering the spirit

that used to set you free
from all this empty
space wallowing between

us, before the graves
were dug. Onto the cushion
our dog climbs, licking her paws
like wounds; in your eyes

the spark shrinks to an ember,
but your fingers find their melody

in the strings and frets
of a Tuesday mourning.

Nicole Gervasio graduated from Bryn Mawr College with a degree in English and Growth & Structure of Cities and a concentration in creative writing. This spring, she won First Place in the Kathryn Irene Glascock Intercollegiate Poetry Competition at Mount Holyoke College. Her poetry has been published in The Swarthmore Review, Nimbuis, Kaleidoscope at Bryn Mawr College, and Word Riot. She has also written and published prose. Having won Bryn Mawr's Bain-Swiggett Poetry Prize for best poem for two consecutive years, she has also been the recipient of various other Bryn Mawr writing awards and a National Semifinalist in the Norman Mailer College Writing Award for 2009.

Copyright 2010, Nicole Gervasio . © This work is protected under the U.S. copyright laws. It may not be reproduced, reprinted, reused, or altered without the expressed written permission of the author.