PoetrySpring 2020

Toward a Theory of Likeness: Morning – Nicholas Molbert

bells’ first toll after prayers
then the tolling space hollowed
a spark of grease
against seasoned cast iron

it tolled of dailiness
the bells tolling still
in the vibrations
of the cattails the crabgrass

the chatters of the wren the tern
the spoonbill articulating prayer
among the belled silence

there was a bell and bells
will be in morning tomorrow

the trout makes lump
of the pelican’s throat
the trout throated is prayer

the fish in the gull’s is a prayer said
but cast close back
to the throat from which
it came
in the wake of the quick boat

the reeds lie down
their ground becomes
one of head and feet

in the wake of the small death
morning unveils so well
you may hear bells churching

that is making church
of this town

a music much like the tolling
but the prayer of wind from unseen wakes

making bandsaws of reeds
and done with their day
by the back end of the bells

the shrimpers have a word
for the moment
night blends into the dragnet

of morning
when that net is drawn into their boat
it looks like the bell unseen
the one that brings them in

looks like the bells tolled and
speckled with prayers that
are the shrimp

yes the prayers are shrimp
some dead some dying
some kept yes close
to the mouth


Originally from Louisiana’s Gulf Coast, Nicholas now lives and writes in Cincinnati. His chapbook, Goodness Gracious, won Foundlings Press’s 2018 Wallace Award. His forthcoming second chapbook will be part of Foundlings Press’s Strays series. You can find his poetry and prose in Birmingham Poetry Review, The Cincinnati Review, DIAGRAM, Mississippi Review, Missouri Review, Ninth Letter, and Pleiades among others

The author: John Carter

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