Poem: The Couch

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There is always a space
Between the gnawing next
And the agony of memory last
Where stillness dwells.

You know this. They all teach it.
But finding it is the trick.

Waiting for the diagnosis
The biopsy
The election results
The boat sloshes on the ocean
The siren screams
The temperature pitches too high

This is why they invented distraction.
This is why people take action
This is why we fall into inaction
And get stuck on the couch.

You found a noble seat on the couch
Looking for that space but
The quiet sandwiches noise

until
The child in his fuzzy blanket
Appears at the end of your capsized meditation
Folds himself in your lap

You breathe in his soft dirty hair
Sweeter than air
The first real thing you’ve encountered all day––

The weight of him
Fresh from sleep
His body stretched on yours
The couch holding you both
Sandwiching you

You forget for a moment
That you are supposed to be afraid.

Nerissa Nields
Nov. 2, 2016

This poem was written as part of 30 Poems in November, a benefit to raise money for Center for New Americans, a Western MA organization that provides welcoming services and literacy for recent immigrants. For more information, or to sponsor me, go here

Poem: The Loud Bus and The Quiet Bus

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Your small face moves in and out of the windows of the bus
Eyes happy accent marks—dashes and lashes
You chose the loud bus and left your friends on the quiet one
Your father said, “That’s my girl!”
And I wondered about both of you.

This morning, I wanted to braid your hair,
To make a rope that I could catch onto
Pull me along behind you
All the way to Becket

Instead, I asked if you’d packed the hairbrush
(You had, and the toothbrush, and sunscreen,
And even the hand cream I never knew you knew about)
I asked if you were scared
(No)
(I was the scared one)

I asked if you had something to read, but you had packed
The novel I wrote, full of my annotations,
My ideas about how to write it better next time.
I let you take it, knowing it will not find its way back home.

I stood between the two buses
Quiet and loud
The loud bus rocked
Full of neon-coated ten-year-olds
Moving between the seats like dolphins
Trying to find the best spot

While on the other bus
The ten-year-old I never was
Huddled and read her book.

Nerissa Nields
Nov. 1, 2016

This poem was written as part of 30 Poems in November, a benefit to raise money for Center for New Americans, a Western MA organization that provides welcoming services and literacy for recent immigrants. For more information, or to sponsor me, go here