nicole v basta

apocalypse with maybes



fire / brimstone /                        wonderful boom

i think less about the end and more about what’s on the fork next

 but it feels close, doesn’t it?

like i should carry seeds beneath my tongue

a sharp edge to spear with                                     just in case


or who knows                 the world could end up all water

the pot overflowing

skin brined and tumbling, my knees wrestled to my chest

the finale not unlike the start—

 a cradle of ribs, a hard bowl of hips


but a womb is not a fallout shelter

i’m convinced mine isn’t even habitable                          haven for nothing

     no bread left to ration


the root here may be an inheritance of miscarriage

my body’s curfew budding closer                                             doubt


maybe i’ve stood too long in front of the microwave

  impatience the salt of my undoing

leftovers reheat the way they always do—        hot edge, cold middle

      no consequence of milk or swell


but i’ll blame the brewing end

the flint of the world so close to the match

say i don’t want to multiply ache

like i’m some responsible bitch hell-bent on leaving no trace


and when it happens                                when the water crests my throat

      and there’s no one with my mouth

no heart beneath my heart

        i’ll still press my lips to maybe                  and drink

acquired taste



pale and ordinary, my body swept across the hardwood

the same arms + legs wave an X from the floor scatter of what is burnt

/ ash angel /

      not much more than what i leave behind


      here there is boredom moonlighting as ritual



ivy snaked around my tongue like a straw wrapper on a finger

except chlorophyll           /         except                i bite


so often i’m a dead ringer

   for a stimulant /little (sometimes) buzz that helps you feel alive


the moon wants a little pick-me-up, lets down her roots

unstuck to the earth by my own muscle, i self-boost


o moon                             i reach for her ladder of nest + blood

carousel an orbit / dizzy what’s alive down there


i watch the body, my body, glittering seed of agency, from above—


too high up to face myself, to shout down

everything you touch is singing, baby, you’re all harvest

21st century Venus, your spine realigned with a trellis


i forget to say this                                     like a lot of words

so i see how fardown my throat i can grow a vine of deficiencies


no one criticizes the moon when she’s a crescent of what she can be


my tongue is heavy and allergic with gravity

the way the tides swell with the rise after they sink

the way even the sun is made up of the dead

in other cornfields



i have pressed my palms down to see what sitting

would be like, hovered before surrendering but never here


i wasn’t worried about dampness, to be muddied

slick-wristed with you would be nice, i just wondered


if the ground could hold


in fact, i’ve never parked a truck in the middle of the road

never shifted on the canyons of cutdown rows


rows where you stopped blaming another wound

another woman and like silks from kernels, i unwrapped


myself from that excuse–


and if any of us don’t get to the truth, soil cracks to dust

no seed can take root– so you told me how bodies


were men you’ve only undressed in your mind and the field

became a room, walls made of wait, abstain, the hollow places


in the ground looked lonely


without a shirt tossed or a shoe on its side and i could’ve said

anything but instead i held my breath, held your knee


as if i could anchor you to what passes between us

for the first time, how clear the night was


love, a flannel buttoned to the throat


if all the husks lying in rows were arms to hold

i’d give them all to you, they are all for you


nicole v basta’s chapbook V was chosen by Rigoberto González as the winner of The New School’s Annual Contest. She is the co-founder of the Brooklyn-based art community + performance night Say Yes Electric Collective that ran from 2015-2018. Recent poems appear or are forthcoming in Ninth Letter, Nat. Brut, New South, Painted Bride Quarterly, Bone Bouquet, and elsewhere. She writes and lives to foster reverence for the earth, her ancestors, and the collective spirit of pre-industrial society. Find her hologram & her book at