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James B. Nicola

GOODBYES

The Slippers by Samuel van Hoogstraten

like an imminent
affair
an incipient
farewell
lubricates the eyes
and drains the heart
or vice versa

the tongue
does not know
where
the head
does not know
how
to begin
or end

or anything

 

the hollowest woe
of the wind’s cool whirl
or its cruelest crest of crescendo
unable to whisk us away
or move us the laziest inch
from the O so leaded light
of a faintly fierce moment
soul and stomach wending separate ways

we
with no perceptible
trembling or slavering
stand
in the doorway
still

 

About the writer:
James B. Nicola is the author of eight collections of poetry, the latest three being Fires of Heaven: Poems of Faith and Sense, Turns & Twists, and Natural Tendencies. His nonfiction book Playing the Audience: The Practical Actor’s Guide to Live Performance won a Choice magazine award. He has received a Dana Literary Award, two Willow Review awards, Storyteller’s People’s Choice magazine award, one Best of Net, one Rhysling, and eleven Pushcart nominations—for which he feels stunned and grateful. A graduate of Yale, James hosts the Writers’ Round Table at his library branch in Manhattan: walk-ins welcome.

Image: The Slippers by Samuel van Hoogstraten (1627-1678). Oil on canvas. 40.5 x 27.5 inches. Circa 1660. Public domain.

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OPEN: Journal of Arts & Letters (O:JA&L) recommends the programs and services of TERRY LUCAS: Poetry coach.