About the Feature

[hear the author read this piece by clicking this link.]


He doesn’t know you anymore.
The hillside nursing home took his name.
Scattered over the valley’s rooftops,
it glitters off asphalt shingles in the heat.
You’re here, in the hallway, too singular
to grasp this dispersal. It won’t
stop lapping over the lip of your cupped hands.

You trip over your feet into the summer day.
The afternoon is steam and brownouts.
Who owns this?
It won’t help to reclaim a dribble from the heap,
and you’re helpless as a floodplain.

By the riverbank, cyclists speed behind
the stand of elms on the far shore.
Two friends or a couple or a middle-aged
mother and her grown son ride
single-file—you’re too far from their story
to tell their story, too far from the thousand-
and-one nights they live through for you
to sustain the city between towering dunes.

It is shifting. Each grain
shifts along its path, and the horizon’s mirage
is another world calling you—
the real world—
and reality drops through the valley, plunges
as rock down to riverbed. You’re here
beside a law you can’t decipher,
their mumbled debate, the truth they debate.
You hear it from the adjacent room.

About the Author

Andy Nicholson holds an MFA from California College of the Arts and a PhD from The University of Nevada, Las Vegas where he was a Schaeffer Fellow in Poetry. His poetry has previously appeared in magazines and journals including Spinning Jenny, Interim, and The Offending Adam.