I’ve never wanted to talk
With the dead.
Is that unpoetic of me? A hand
Pushes dried flowers inside
A dark blue bottle that is the world
We imagine
The dead belong to.
Another hand is staining
Bits of glass
The color of apricots.
It distributes them to the living
Slowly, purposefully
Each year.


There’s that moment when the both of us
Switch the lights on. We don’t care
About the lack of warmth (so many poems

Are in fact hagiographies of warmth)
Or our own bodies, cold and somehow
Evil, winterized from lack of use.


This house is huge, unimaginably so.
The landlord drinks wine
From a grail.
I have dreams
In which I discover myself the mistress
Of a house that exists
In a painting
Commissioned to honor
The country residence
Of an evil man
Known to posterity
As a lover
Of birds and women
And as a generous patron
Of the arts.
I take my wine
With bitters. I’m sitting
In a room
With a wooden bed and blood
Colored curtains
In the manner of the feminine saints.
There is a painting in a wing
Of this house
Of a house
Whose entryways and corridors
Lead back to the room
Wherein I find my landlord
Drinking wine from
A grail.
The grail is that legendary
Stone of heaven
The wicked hero
Discovered in a castle not unlike
This house, since both
That castle and this house exist
In the imaginations
Of poets.
I imagine that the stone
That dropped to Parzival from heaven
Was green.
I wear it in a ring.
My boots are pink and their laces
Are brass. My dress
Is the color of the bloom
Of yeast that rests
On the skins of plums.
I’m renting a room
In this house,
A room with blood
Colored curtains just big enough
For one person to sleep in.
There is a window
In this room, a window I permit myself
To sit next to.
It looks out onto
The smallest lawn on earth.

Sara Nicholson is the author of What the Lyric Is and The Living Method, both from The Song Cave. She lives in Arkansas.