by Emma Bolden


The moment one loves another best is the moment in which
there is leaving. The clarity of it, blank as light. What the snow does
to the circle we call sun. So many things we think we understand

because we know their names. People included. So how am I
in all of my life to walk unless I am walking away. It does no good.

Think of two bodies of water merging without also thinking
of the way we created maps to separate them. Naming is a way
of owning. Turning away is too. And the hands I like to think of

as instruments of holding are themselves mostly water, mostly
the nothing between atom and atom. We are mostly nothing

as well as a name is nothing but breath, tongued wet, pink-shaped.
Every word waits in my mouth and its silence. Will I ever be able to
listen closely enough to convince myself. What was there once it’s gone.

Emma Bolden is the author of a memoir, The Tiger and the Cage (Soft Skull), and the poetry collections House Is an Enigma, medi(t)ations, and Maleficae. Her work has appeared in such journals as Mississippi Review, The Rumpus, StoryQuarterly, Prairie Schooner, New Madrid, TriQuarterly, Shenandoah, and The Greensboro Review. The recipient of an NEA Fellowship, she is Associate Editor-in-Chief for Tupelo Quarterly and an Editor of Screen Door Review.