maybe deep summer we'd make our way down

the swimming hole but mostly you just dragged

the old tin tub to the pump let the water warm

in the sun if you were lucky a little lye a washrag

if cleanliness is next to godliness if godliness

is next to the flowers if the flowers if your fingers

if your pits if the pit of a prune gets spit in your hand

if the water never warms the body stays dirty


the external gills typical of amphibians

exposed to the environment if you gargle

enough frog eggs you might learn

how to breathe if you borrow enough money

you might be able to put enough gas in the tank

to get you to town o stagnant water frog embryo

stink of your stink somewhere there's a machine

that can look inside you and tell you why it hurts


sense is something other people make take

me on this mountain isn't even a mountain

more like a hill and a wall in the kitchen

with twenty old spoons for décor

but not a soup or a jelly nothing

to dip the rounded side in i keep thinking

i'll come to understand what i've been

put here for but then i get desirous

and forget to wonder or the old man

wanders in and says boo just to scare me

and i go on the porch and shake until it rains

Nicole Callihan was born in Hickory, North Carolina, raised in Oklahoma, and lives in Brooklyn, New York. Her books include SuperLoop and Henry River Mill Village, as well as, the chapbooks: Downtown, The Deeply Flawed Human, and A Study in Spring.