Don't drink the gnat. It plants itselfin your water glass like celery seed
gone sweaty in the wet earth. Don'tleave the porch light open. It will call
in all the things that want to eatwhat you eat, that want to taste even
you here in the wishful darkness.Look, the hedge ends just outside
our view to the southeast, muchlike the mountains, much like youth
all crumbled up in shadow and shifting.Don't sing to it. Save your whistle
for the hard nail, for the cider fast pouredinto the whiskey, ice clinking in the oldfashioned.
Remember when blood waswhat we called everything close by.
Remember how everything close byfit in the balsam breeze. Say something,
please, from the swing we used to creakin when the night owls had their way [End Page 436]
with our sleep. Say something throaty,something rhythmic that refuses to rhyme.
Don't promise the skyline. Don't promisethe headlights winding down the drive. There
will never be a seat left for either of uswe didn't carve ourselves. [End Page 437]
john a. nieves has poems forthcoming or recently published in Beloit Poetry Journal, American Literary Review, and Alaska Quarterly Review. He won the Indiana Review Poetry Prize, and his first book, Curio, won the Elixir Press Poetry Award. He is an assistant professor of English at Salisbury University. He received his MA from University of South Florida and his PhD from the University of Missouri.