and in the beginning

it felt like nothing

i was watching robert downey, jr.

again wondering where

the time had gone

several years’ worth

easily until

in the laundromat

i wrote

letters to my babies

hoping they missed me as i


we were to the spin cycle and

back home

colleen was fixing

lou diamond phillips’ hair

and everyone

was getting ready

(i worried the safety

of air travel, the cold)

it was june in the big city

can you believe it

the smell of

hospital on my hands

when i washed them


CNN Reports It Looks as If the Climber Has Finally Come to Her Senses

In a majestic display, retailers

reach out to say they have not forgotten their beloved

on this day of the party I didn’t want to get out of bed for. A BOGO special

on new feelings—why not try one on?

Why not? It’s a holiday, America!

I tell a stranger I’m painting these days. I know

he understands in his own quiet way. This is what progress looks like.

I keep it light: I dance sometimes while I do the dishes

to my favorite album of 2010. I remember to hydrate

and my uncle texts me to keep the faith. In these times

some species are provided a special garment

for comfort, or Sarah McLachlan’s angel voice

and conviction of the masses—proximity’s

a funny thing. I don’t know what it is to touch in that way

but I tune in to the live feed

to watch with a city misrecognized as home

the sister who has scaled some symbolism.

As she curls underfoot I’m reminded it’s a holiday

and someone offers that this is what happens

when you America too hard. Another complains

on behalf of an innocent son looking forward to fireworks.

How selfish of her to ascend, to grasp so insistently

and put those officers at risk, to ruin

a holiday. There are other ways to go about it. Do you know

how much this is costing? and again I’m counting

all the sisters who have broken

civility and other abstract and conditional protocols

because who else would dare to make such a production

of love. I will not hear Therese Patricia Okoumou for hours

but several sources are confirming that the climber should be evaluated.

Why’s she so mad about frozen water? sets off

an explosion of angry and haha emojis. It’s a holiday

and soon everyone will return to their business of barbecue

or scripted summer programming

(remembering, of course, to Google those pink shoes).

When she descends the ladder I can’t turn off

the blow-by-blow ringing free as an anthem.

I sway starry-eyed at the parade of breaths.


Version 2Nicole Higgins is a poet from Kansas City, Missouri and PhD candidate in English at Duke University. She has received fellowships from Callaloo and Cave Canem. Her work has appeared in Dream Pop Journal, Pleiades, Storyscape, Bear Review, Sink Review, and elsewhere.