The American Journal of Poetry
"Strong Rx Medicine"®


Nicole Callihan



Deadhead me
with your clean hand pruners
              Angle your metal into my stem
My browning blooming drooping
                          I carried in a thousand fleas
Flutter of a fecal flower
              Jigger me dumb until nightfall
Heady jasmine
                          Hollowed be
Unpetal you Unpetal thee


Age spotted beneath
Mine eye   mine eye
             To you be blue
                          To you be true
Rivet me red rosy
             Rode round in my Maserati
Made myself up mascaraed
                         Made two girls
             Made myeslf sick
To wonder which
                         In the gin dream
I shook a baby bear
             Off my arm
                         Before its mother
Devoured a man
              Who is not my lover
                          And who among you is not


The thief’s tool unspools
I am
Not so much accomplished
             As accomplice
Accompanied by lice
As easy as red
             Some clown’s nose
The tip of
             An erected tower


In those days I secreted away
             My luxuria in bluejean skirts
Gula of Galas I ate pie
                          From twilight to twain
A coin purse of avaritia
             We rolled our nickels in grasses
Your suprebia is no match
                          For my tristitia
A boy with a tattoo
Across his chest
              Sweaty pulsing vanagloria
O ira
              All morning I have lain
w/ my two-toed acedia


Of the sponge microwaved
             Of the rain that fell
On apple picking day
                           Pink lady
Who were you
                           I dimed dinner
Thumbed rides
             Stuck needles in my eyes
Stunk with all my might
                          Of feathered flight
And stone cold boutonnieres


Preach me preacher man
             Preach me peachy
You preached my
             peach away   preached
my breeched
                          my beached self
all these decades later
             cells bleached
purse pursed
                           the spirit indeed
indeed the spirit
             you were willing
                          I was weak
What was lost
             Still I seek


The myrtle creped
            Crept and crawled
My y’all
             My y’all
I left you that fall
                          Crepe of cream
I fished out food
             With my fingers
Fingered out fish
                          With my fallow
In the dream
             I am pregnant with my 4
And my husband
Leaves me in the rain
                         A cardboard box
                         To cover me


Foxed feral in the forest
Socked holy in the glory hole
             Glory be to wholeness
And wonder
             And wonderwoman
The wanderer
                         And the bastards too
By which I mean
             The fatherless
In the name of
             The daughter and the holy ghost
And you who
             Hogtied me to the peonies
And the shape forgiveness takes
                          When you stand
                          And the things you make




NICOLE CALLIHAN's books include SuperLoop (Sockmonkey Press 2014), and the chapbooks: A Study in Spring (2015), The Deeply Flawed Human (2016), and Downtown (2017). Her next project, Translucence, a dual-language, cross-culture collaboration with Arabic poet Samar Abdel Jaber, will be published by Indolent Books in 2018. Find her on the web at



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