Nikoletta Nousiopoulos

The Poet’s Portrait Recalling Tombs & Pears

What falls to earth breaks me in half:
the dahlia mouth of yellow
swallows my baby-bird. But there was magic
most days. Planets caught fire
and drowned in spellbound space.
I used to unbutton the clouds & taste the rain;
I got lost. I dug a hole and filled it with rocks.
After church, trees watched my skirt
blow up in the wind
with chicken feathers —
Yiayiá always drew the best chickens.
In every blank of bark I carved a “N”
because I couldn’t stand my own name.
Grass stains sealed my body closed.
That spring, our pear tree impaled me
to a deer belly: was a lie I told my mother.
How many grapes can I fit in my mouth
before I choke? Our dead dog
(in a shoe box) in the backyard.