Poem of the Week | October 09, 2017

This week, we are excited to present a new poem by Nicholas Molbert. Molbert’s work has been published in or is forthcoming from Spillway, Fjords Review, American Literary Review, and others. He lives and writes in Central Illinois as an MFA candidate at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
 
 

An Epistemology in Retrospect

 

In the front yard, we half-gainered head first
into the aboveground pool off the roof

 

of our double-wide. Above us, ravens burdened
the power line into a smile. We didn’t know

 

birds could be symbols. To us, the ravens
simply stubbled the line’s lip—if we’d sported

 

facial hair or knew the hassles of shaving to the skin,
we might’ve joked about it, even belly-laughed,

 

but our ideas of fun, then, were bald milky stomachs
reddened by sunburns and belly flops. Our mother stepped out,

 

pointed, and said, An unkindness!
Our faces flushed as if we’d been scolded

 

for another slapping contest, but no. We didn’t know
this name to be the raven’s collective. For all we knew,

 

they were descendants of birds who boarded the Ark.
Maybe this respite was their first since given the task

 

of parsing millennia into wet weeks. Perhaps, they flew
together over landscapes we’d never seen—aerial shows

 

full of freefalls and nosedives, and, when satisfied,
landed to watch my sister and I test the ways wind

 

bolstered our bodies. We floundered in the weightless
moments between trailer and pool, but, unlike us,

 

they knew how to plunge through unkind winds.

 

Author’s Note:

 
This poem stems from my reflecting on childhood experiences, naïveté, and growing up along Louisiana’s Gulf coast. More specifically, the actions of childhood that reveal real dangers to which, in the moment, my sister and I were oblivious. Lastly, though I’ve been living and writing in an area of the country that isn’t so Catholic, it is hard to shake a Catholic bend from my worldview.
 

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