Two Poems By Nicole Oquendo

Squall, Interstitial
For this conjure, gather one measure of a wide gunblade’s swing, the creaking open of an orphanage gate, and the spin from one partner to the same again in dance. You’ll meet her again in the garden, whole in the curve of blowing wind, so for now when the feathers fall and you remember her, think hard, with the kind of intent a junction requires, and repeat until you reach one hundred in the stock, Full-life, Full-life, Full-life.

Cloud, we’ve both pressed our ghosts behind a heavy lock

We’ve both pressed our ghosts behind a heavy lock,

yours the near death of serving, and before 

being so close, so close to getting out

of your small town, escaping your gates, later so much larger,

plump with hope, she will love all of you, 

so when your lives unfurl, 

and the clones of you crawl toward the mountain, 

I see in each one mistakes like mine, 

like wishing, at the lowest heartbeat, to drive left off the highest curve 

to plummet, to spread at the base of it 

a different self than the one at the wheel.

When the piano plays at the entrance to you, 

I sway with it, under the starlight, when my arms become the horns blowing

we share the same keys, and the rhythm to the inside of the selves we’ve left

behind, us or no, reunions to this music too.

Nicole Oquendo is a writer, editor, and educator. Their work can be found in numerous literary journals, a hybrid memoir, and six chapbooks. Their full-length visual poetry collection we, animals will be released by Beating Windward Press in 2021. Follow them on Twitter @nicoleoq.

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