Tiana Reid: Nightnursing

The writer shares three pool-dark poems from her new collection.
Robert Bingaman, Pool 1. 2014. Courtesy of the artist.

To Nowhere

Under I am letting go
of nighttime: soothing sweat
dismissed as chlorine:

in this place:
majestic noun pouring
over the pool.

I hear no one: no
little rattles: no cued-up laughter:
no acuteness: no victories:
swallowed: surrounded.

Something I don’t need flourishes here:
and in not needing: I become fleshy:
a ballooned god, a little boy who sees
dark as it should be: warm: cocoon: everylight.

150 steps away: a
restaurant with cloth napkins and candles.

The glow can get over on me,
its cradled network of all-hail-the-queen, a low
grade insomnia, tongue-jarred, forever and ever
behind the times new roman: a social lifer
upward-spiraling to nowhere.

Some men need extra lessons

up up up the stairs, she walks past

the janitor flirting, the student interrupted by

the old man with the lion sneeze,

and the tiny room with the fast printer

and the quiet woman ready to unite the next

generation of lesbians and

the admin lady, with her stringy hair, inspecting papers,

the person with a post-it parade on their wall.

suddenly people were all around,

their plants hugging the window ledge,

their cardigans hanging over desk chairs,

making anoretic shrines, unlearning and

relearning who they were


mistranslation theory

Truth contracts
When obliquity
Reigns. Lawlessness pitters around a green:
It involves a merry-go-round.

The things we do to survive —

One: sip a paper-bagged rocket out of a straw
On the afterwork subway commute.

Two: leave his hands unmoisturized
To remind him
Of his hard work.

Three is more difficult with its
Haze filling all around,
Quivering parallels and all.
Three makes a harsh sound, not airy
Like One, or counterpoised like Two.

Change the frequency.
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