by Cindy Nichols

Published in Issue No. 48 ~ May, 2001

There’s an earlier place I remember very well.  One with stairs.
Music while I drifted up alone
to sleep or look out,
the same while I stumbled back down to the world.
Or, days, my mother dusting, swabbed
and banged the keys–
She otherwise never
got near it.  Never sang.  Maybe the way
she’d sort of moan out the word Oklahoma,
where she’d lived as a girl,
was enough.
It’s my father who could go
right through you: Body and Soul, Release Me, Cry Me
a River, big knobby fingers turning
to rain.  To drown those blacks and whites.

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Cindy Nichols lives in California and holds an MFA from the University of Iowa. Her poems have appeared in The Kenyon Review, Mid-American Review, and elsewhere. She currently teaches creative writing at North Dakota State University.