Two Poems

by nicole v basta

to be counted

he asks how long it’s beenaaaaaaaaaa since i’ve been intimate
but what i hear is: aaaaa slide the abacus to how unwanted you are

you can count notches on the body
but there’s no calculating yesterday’s losses
no circumference to the halo of suspicion around your lover’s mouth

memory, tucked tight in our bones, is one part invention
two parts aaaaaaaaa forget it
but no matter how seasoned, years later, we can conjure, without asking

the smell of the leaving, the leavening, i continue to break bread
with vulnerability aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa swallow her whynot
instinctively drive six hours towards Nothing, hoping to be counted

security, o sweet counterweight, the words to a song from twenty years ago
the susquehanna subsides only to flood again
but lyric & water are measurable things

you can’t order a pint glass of milky ache
& darknesses are never teeth, countable & bright
and here’s a promise:
you can count on a remainder but sorrow does divide into grace


in this rusted thimble
a mattress in metal

we are a match lit

from the prairie’s
cold breath

we are where
the heat holds

are we where
you are lonely?

if i could i would
sift the white noise
of that grainmill

the flatness
that carries sound
i’d roll up like a rug

what is love without

floors without walls
without your body

down to skin

in castiron morning
you go inside

i wait

for the curve
of the horizon
to untangle its arms
from the sun



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About nicole v basta

nicole v basta is the co-founder of the Brooklyn-based art collective/performance night "Say Yes." Her chapbook 'V'  was the winner of The New School's 2016 annual contest and will be published in the fall of 2017. Her work appears or is forthcoming in Compose, Forth, The Gravity of the Thing, Crosswinds Poetry Journal, Public Pool, Juked, Canary, and others. She was an artist-in-residence at Art Farm in Nebraska.

nicole v basta

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