Nina Puro

If you’re a bent nail, everyone
looks like a hammer



Some moons I want to see again        faces’ planes hewn sharp            under the cottonwood

shadow her busted ankle           half gone shoe  in my lap.


Her breath’s heat a riverthat sticking to the skin withoutthe blank benefit of verbs. I

wanted to know where war goes when it leaves. What coughed up aphorisms washed up

after whowas lost in the flood. Part our confessions into piles.Comb-tugged

cut and pastesuffices in their stadium.


They say that there’s snow       on the hillside still;      that is how they catch you. It is said the light

ones    don’t break through the crust.             That bluebells bloom for a week in May and an
hour in winter, invisibly.  Plate of mother knife  of father finger of lace week of icicles

yearof bridges with no water under dam                   with no water above. Learn to act

out the long whinecute. What do your brokenankles/hymens say about the

patriarchy? Pleasecomment below.


Decade as oval where face would go.             They weren’t wrong when they said ruthless

ontology but didn’t know            where I snuck the bittersour cardamom. Every cupboard some

            long backstory. I’m boring         holes into us. I’m boring please like my flagrant sunsetting

as how the desert                     talks in me still: I wanted  I afraid I chain I glut hill slid  I I I

coughlaugh twist in the grimy air       between shirt and skin.


Tradition is told is we give her a bracelet        when she’s born a crown         when she leaves we

mob against dark            open circuits spark      this is one way to describe our relationship.

Another way is there’s no our,   everyone in the dream is me, in the room is me, stadium choked

with me; I write relationship poems      single for years.


Oh sweet homogenization comeback with your pliable references & triangle translations.

Girl, try your luck       against the disposably incomed. Augment my trauma                                    with

kale. Little peanut butter plea blur the burned bridge            sharpen the milkteeth. Sell the cans.

Tag the tribe. How queerwe lie against their screen.


Crick in neck    crook in attic. By which the factory        is both tract and parry. Syncopathic the first

job the milk truck the bread line the      smokestack where the light fell close like a shawl

around a neck, the hospital     room where the light fell closed             like a noose around a

neck. What am I supposed to do          with all this light please       vote in the comments.


Girl still as air above a lake,girl like girl, dole on thedole out bad advice till the buzz hits.

By which they serve you cheaper, grin.                    By which they shut the opening, shunted in

             the medicine. Hold still for their       cameras kid—if you blur,           they can’t catch you.


NINA PUROs current work addresses rupture and queer precarity. It can be found in Guernica, H_NGM_N, and the PEN American Poetry Series, among others. A member of the Belladonna* Collaborative, Nina is author of two forthcoming chapbooks (Argos Books and dancing girl press) and recipient of fellowships from the MacDowell Colony and Syracuse University. Nina cries and works in Brooklyn.