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Nikoletta Nousiopoulos

black river child

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When I was 8, I walked to the black river
because I thought
the forest was whistling.
It sounded like chimes of sunlight.

As I climbed through the brush
every branch left scratches.

There was a train headed south
as I reached the river. No one even noticed
I was missing, as water melodies erased
my footsteps in the dirt.

There’s a shadowy secret; I’ll command to you now:

Clouds parted like the wings of a fly:
dip your daisy-toes in, the river hummed.
This desire was beautiful & ugly
at the same time.

But the black river was a liar,
so I left girl-body to become woman.

I’m telling you this now
because the sot of the earth wasn’t my fault.
The rot in the body was the moss
& algae of parasitic, little girl fear:

I left my body a while ago. The vines entwined her here.

moon air & terrain sequence

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trees forget our faces &
unknowingly, guide blue egg
to its genesis; the darkness
settles & holds,
tugs fireflies off moonlight
until what surrounds
is bolt: is woman gone wild;
so we gather
our bodies & hungry bones:
we sleep with dirty animals


I take pebbles & fill the hole;
here, take a dewy sun
for your underworld telescope—
the wolf will bite back & arrow
through spring; take this broken
daisy-death for your particular
numbness; stop thrashing
your sweet life at my feet


before shadows I thundered
in a factory of wings,
foaming fire, a real anxiety
galaxy; you were stones
holding down my parachute, so
I wished for sea clusters, to be
rainbow, to be jellyfish
wedged in the spaces of your ribs.


(I am bound to blink & shine inside
the moon) as he removes my shell
& my meat
the stone pieces melt
purple, over rocks
of stardust; what is the moon but
I envy I envy I envy

the language of flowers

for Rocco Archer

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I believe in the language of flowers:
(my baby boy originated within the rain)

at my Yiayia’s house, fortressed by dahlias,
roses, and bees, a little girl played.

I want to be a little girl again
and remember how I originated, too.

I believe in the language of dreams:
(my baby boy originated within the clouds)

were there any flowers on earth before
there were any children in mothers?

The garden always whispered
like bees’ wings sinking inside.

I believe in the language of blood:
(my baby boy originated within me)

➥ Bio