Nicole Callihan

Two poems from Nicole Callihan’s chigger ridge
followed by a note on the author

chigger ridge

there the sun
did not rise
until we’d been
up for hours
then it
the day
turned the trees
from lead
to silver
turned the dead
to face
the river
the night again
the poet
told me to
go to sleep
wait until
i dreamed
of an angel
and when
the angel speaks
the poet said
listen to her
notice the color
of her dress
blue jean blue
then wake up
and write it
down in
the valley
all night i slept
i was naked
but i was not cold
and lo
i say unto you
the angel
did her bidding
and lo
she offered me
a slopjar
and lo a cat’s eye
and lo she told me
not to be afraid
of the soul
and the grass
on the ledge
in which i lay
made me itch
with a violence
i’d carry away
o if the portrait
of the self
is a pallet
on the floor
if the floor
is as cold as
the night outside
if the night’s
got nothing
on the old man
out back
you say self
and point
to my chest
my head
but what of these
trees this still
star-soaked sky
what of the
cuts and tongues
and tins of meat
what of the self
can be cleaved
from the girl
on the ridge
who in the dark
with a cleaver
stands and lo
i say unto you
lo i say come
with me lo
i say stay


to imagine that there had been dusty apples would mean
apples would mean there had been apples maybe in jars
in some cellar jarred up like down at the schoolhouse
baby girl in a jar fetus the science teacher scolded fetus
but he was the kind who believed in monkeys feed us
this day our daily mush let us not be hungry
let our bodies not invisible be let there be a tree
where something grows let us not be mere specimens
when all things commence let us among the things be

Nicole Callihan’s books include SuperLoop (Sock Monkey Press 2014), and the chapbooks: A Study in Spring (Rabbit Catastrophe 2015); The Deeply Flawed Human (Deadly Chaps 2016), and Downtown (Finishing Line Press 2017). Her poems have appeared in, among others, PANK, Plume, Painted Bride Quarterly, The American Poetry Review, and as a Poem-a-Day selection from the Academy of American Poets. Find her at