“Company” by Muriel Nelson
. . . from what could we weave the boundary
Between within and without, light and abyss,
If not from ourselves, our own warm breath . . .?
— Czeslaw Milosz
Where thought & thoughts associate,
potencies are shelved like kitchen knives,
where every finger’s safe, where choirs sing right notes
and someone tells the singers how to feel,
I grew. Later, I helped
a grandmother search for dresses —
used ones, but beautiful, so the child would feel good. When I found
small tights in red, yellow, and pink, the grandmother said,
It don’t matter. If they don’t match we just pretend.
I’ve seen a chickadee flit upside-down, in the light at the tip
of a twig — an impossible flight, but that didn’t matter;
and a wild squirrel dive off our upper roof, make a small tree quake,
wave his tail, then touch noses with our old dog.
I’ve known a place so dark all boundaries
are felt, not seen, where loves fade beautifully
on paper — and then flare
as love & loves associate —
where you became my Company.
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Muriel Nelson Artist Statement:
Muriel Nelson lives near Seattle where she writes, raises fruit and veggies to donate,
experiments with winter gardening, prepares salads with friends for community suppers, and
hides her ‘mature’ voice in a choir with younger singers.
Her publications include Part Song, winner of the Dorothy Brunsman Poetry Prize (Bear Star
Press), and Most Wanted, winner of the ByLine Chapbook Award (ByLine Press). Nominated
four times for the Pushcart Prize, her poems have appeared in Bellevue Literary Review, Beloit
Poetry Journal, Cortland Review, Four Way Review, Front Porch Journal, Hayden’s Ferry
Review, Hunger Mountain, Massachusetts Review, National Poetry Review, The New Republic,
Northwest Review, Pebble Lake Review, Ploughshares, Prick of the Spindle, Seneca Review, The
Spoon River Poetry Review, Superstition Review, and others, and on Verse Daily and Poetry
Daily. She holds master’s degrees from the University of Illinois School of Music and the
Warren Wilson MFA Program for Writers.