“epigenetics or: time draws a circle” by Nicole V Basta

epigenetics or: time draws a circle

By nicole v basta


which summer is this
              arithmetic is one thing, freckles another
                   power drags from the east in a late august storm
                                 the grass bends like earth’s gymnasts
                                               how their hands are too silent for a number
                                                              always pucker straight on the dismount
                                               which tongue is this in
                                 nadzieja is one thing, hope another
                   anna orders meat at a counter
               in her mouth, a song picked up at the company store
                   we pretend it was the baron who saved us
                                 pass the narrative, the only heirloom
                                               between me and then, between factories full
                                                             of our women and men charred from the pulse
                                                                      of earth, all there is—    the distance between night
                                                                                         -mares and perseverance
                                                                          which equation is this
                                                             winter is an empty path, grandmother another
                                                the cold bends like a map
                                 many women before me cannot refold
                   their hands waiting in line, cobbled latitudes of time
                                 whose story is this
                                                my mother’s is one thing, eva’s another
                                                              with pork bones in our mouths
                                                                   we suck the narrative dry and soft as far as we can
                                                                                   the grass is still, the mines are closed
                                                                                                  i split what is left with my tongue
                                                                                                           the sound against my teeth
                                                                                                                          still a song

nicole v basta’s poems have found homes in Ploughshares, Waxwing, The Journal, Heavy Feather, Birdfeast, Tinderbox, Ninth Letter, etc. She is the author of the chapbook V, the winner of The New School’s Annual Contest. nicole is also a collage artist, a teaching artist, a three time artist-in-residence of Art Farm Nebraska, and an Assistant Poetry Editor at ANMLY. Find more here: nicolevbasta.com