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Nomi Stone

Nomi Stone’s second collection of poems, Kill Class, is forthcoming from Tupelo Press in 2019. She is also the author of Stranger’s Notebook (TriQuarterly Books, 2008). Stone is the recipient of fellowships and grants from the Vermont Studio Center and the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities. She teaches anthropology at Princeton University and lives in Philadelphia.

By This Poet

8

War Catalogues

Soldiers collect & number:
pigment, hair, jade,
roasted meat, timber,
cum. The enemy’s
flute; the face

of an enemy
as he holds his young;
the enemy’s face the moment
it’s harmed. The woods

are a class in what
they can take. The country
is fat. We eat
from its side.

Waiting for Happiness

Dog knows when friend will come home
because each hour friend’s smell pales,
air paring down the good smell
with its little diamond. It means I miss you
O I miss you, how hard it is to wait
for my happiness, and how good when
it arrives. Here we are in our bodies,
ripe as avocados, softer, brightening
with latencies like a hot, blue core
of electricity: our ankles knotted to our
calves by a thread, womb sparking
with watermelon seeds we swallowed
as children, the heart again badly hurt, trying
and failing. But it is almost five says
the dog. It is almost five.

Wonder Days

What I meant is that when the child shook the branch,
the beetles, quiet, somnolent, darkly, fell and again fell
like plums. Once woken, they bzzzed towards
the street lamps, loving each light well, thwacking
against them until they landed face down or face
up, trying to find their feet, reminding me of Eve’s face
as a baby when she tried to lift her head on her stem
of a neck before yet she could. Upon the child’s shoulders,
beetles landed, kinging him. The dusk’s gray mute
unfolded its scrolls, while his mother made toast
with boysenberry jam, his father played solitaire,
and think of his sister doing her biology homework.
But they are under the tree, he is, the bright ones falling
upon him like stars, and as they fall, he names them:
some doctors, some cooks, depending on the size
of their antennae. His face was a diary of leaves: dark,
lit, risen with laughter, then suddenly at rest. This
was one way to be inside the world rather than outside
looking into a bright window.