Entering the homeless / motherless Bronx,
I am now summoned
to listen to your CD, come suddenly unstuck,
after ten spinless years in the player;
Eminem is telling me his eight-ball troubles again,
troubles that you loved.
I now listen to a song you said
I would need to love someday,
passing the brown-fringed edge of Orchard Beach,
where small bass gasp on dirty sand,
into the deadly 25 mph camera zone, where rehabbers loose
from the state facility stand, stalled
on the double yellow I crawl along,
avoiding other strays I can’t save,
who stalk skinny in weedy glass-ground parking lots.
I listen to what I can’t help
but hear, the words loud and clear
as I follow the ambulance through,
– any will do –
no siren needed
where dusk visitors to Calvary Hospice hunch and hurry
avoiding the Christmas glare, glad to get out
as I did when your grandmother died;
her morphined view of that hard high-rise with its steel-eyed windows,
slits narrowed on this forsaken world,
and you gone, God, five years from a habit –
So much hit
says “Mockingbird” –
What will I hit?
Sharon Kennedy-Nolle was recently appointed the Poet Laureate of Sullivan County for 2022-2024. A graduate of Vassar College, she received an MFA from the Writers' Workshop as well as a doctoral degree in nineteenth-century American literature from the University of Iowa. She also holds MAs from the Writing Seminars at Johns Hopkins University and New York University. In addition to scholarly publications, her poetry has appeared in many journals. Her chapbook, Black Wick: Selected Elegies was a semi-finalist for the 2018 Tupelo Snowbound Chapbook Contest. Chosen as the 2020 Chapbook Editor’s Pick by Variant Literature Press, Black Wick: Selected Elegies was published in 2021. Kennedy-Nolle was winner of the New Ohio Review’s 2021 creative writing contest. Her full-length manuscript, Black Wick: The Collected Elegies was chosen as a 2021 finalist for the Black Lawrence Press St. Lawrence Book Award, a 2021 and 2022 semifinalist for the University of Wisconsin Poetry Series' Brittingham and Felix Pollak Prizes, and a 2022 semifinalist for the Brick Road Poetry Contest. She lives and teaches in New York.