Tara Nicole is a twenty-three-year-old student living in the outskirts of Philadelphia. Her work has been
featured in Word Riot, The Legendary, Common Ground Review and Lamplighter Review. In 2010, she was nominated for a Pushcart Prize by Lamplighter Review. She likes words, wine, and other world wonders. She would like to meet you.
The child in the ground floor apartment is confused
about love. He tells me
so every Sunday morning through the tangled notes
of his tuba. He plays as though he hasn’t exhaled all week,
the sound feels like a comb pulled through knotted hair, forcing
out a smoothness that does not exist
His mother has stopped leaving the house,
her sad red car droops in the driveway like a frown in unfitting lipstick.
The grass has become uncomfortable with the thought of growing, bending
at the shoulders
like awkward teenagers. The leaves are clinging to the trees
like stubborn baby teeth.
The motion has become motionless.
The child sees things in negative
spaces; crushed fingers between the strings
of a harp hunched
in the corner like a reprimand no one listened to.
The sound is more silent than absent noises that send him to sleep.
The sound is more visible than neglected meteors, eyes clenched
shut in hopes of avoiding the crash.
The sound whispers through my air vents, like secrets shared
between siblings on nights when sleep is a father who “lost” his house keys
The child stands alone on the lawn
below my bathroom window. I flip the blinds
to let him know the light never left.
He does not look up, but I know he hears
the pulsing plastic, my flickering attempt
at human touch.