Nina Szarka (Apr 10, 2017)


Sometimes you hold so much space that
There is none left for you
And you crawl out from under it
Making lists of
Things You Ought To Have Known
Where all the exits were
And who would drive the car
And whether you belonged there
In the first place


They told me a story about
A girl in the neighborhood
Who laid down on the sidewalk
Under a security camera
On a night like this
And froze to death,
And I read once that
The body will begin to stop
At 95 degrees
Which makes me feel like we are all
Just walking around
3.6 degrees away
From hypothermia,
Which is perhaps why
Comes so easily
Among masses
Afraid they can never get warm

Trojan Horse

I need a new dress
To wear to this thing where
People will buy my art and
I’ll drink wine
And wear highlighter on my cheekbones- the good stuff with the gold flecks
To hold the light against my skin,
To distract from the hauntings,
The years of closed fists and cruel men, and
My black and blue skin
My body bought and sold and bought again and
This lipstick is a battle cry
That I am fully aware seems frivolous
While other, better women with their honorably callused hands
And untreated hair
And sensible, sturdy shoes,
scoff at my vanity,
My china pattern habits and meticulous
And it is too much to explain
That this is a war
And I am a Trojan Horse

The Great Barrier Reef: A Eulogy

I want to hold a funeral
For the Great Barrier Reef
And draw a map on my body
Of nine hundred islands
And build an effigy
For the bleached coral
I will stretch myself across the miles
Like a bridge, or an apology
You know,
In the days before humans thought they knew everything
You’d have to sit with the newly departed
For long enough
To be sure it wasn’t some accident,
To be certain they wouldn’t get up
Sometime after 3 am,
Sliding the pennies off their eyes
Asking why they were wearing their Sunday Best,
And who filled the dining room with flowers and casseroles
I want to bring pastries and eat them next to the
Homeless starfish
And build coffins for the coral polyps
I want to curl my body around itself
And go to sleep inside its giant carcass
I want to hold my breath and wait
For the Reef to say it was all theatrics,
Ask me for coffee,
And go on for another eight thousand years,
Chastising us
For how we’ll kill anything
That can’t fight its way out