Weekly Feature: Poetry at The Arts Fuse

Welcome to “Poetry at The Arts Fuse.” A new poem, every Thursday.


Of all the social constructs, I think
I love time best. How this morning
which I could call morning I did morning
things, shuffled around in my morning
gown, had not woken to a morning
alarm, because my body is like morning
every day come morning, so no need
for an alarm, light through a window
will do, or not even light, the threat
of light through a window will do,
and my body being my second favorite
construct, or having been my favorite
construct when it was young and favorited,
though now I think my favorite favorite
of all the constructs is language. I like
how if you hold a page at a distance
it can say any old thing, but come close,
and I might be offering an image, say,
of my mother on the top of the stairs,
or at the bottom of the stairs, the top
forty years ago, the bottom, only three.
So I guess I’m thinking about written
language as a construct. Anna used to tie
her books in yellow ribbon and carry
them in a basket on her bicycle. I love
remembering her in the village. I love
how we suspected she and Michael
were lovers. I less loved when her husband
hung himself in the garage, how she changed
her ribbon to a gray one. Didn’t she? Do you
love me, and if you don’t, why have you read
to the bottom of this page? It’s evening
now, or not evening, but the sky is so gray
that the afternoon seems to be evening.
Is loneliness a construct? Snow? The soup
simmers. After I eat it, will my hunger
be a construct? And if I don’t? What then?

Nicole Callihan’s most recent book is This Strange Garment, published by Terrapin Books in 2023. Her other books include SuperLoop and the poetry chapbooks: The Deeply Flawed HumanDowntown, and ELSEWHERE (with Zoë Ryder White), as well as a novella, The Couples. Her work has appeared in Kenyon Review, Colorado Review, Conduit, The American Poetry Review, and as a Poem-a-Day selection from the Academy of American Poets. Find out more at www.nicolecallihan.com.

Note: Hey poets! We seek submissions of excellent poetry from across the length and breadth of contemporary poetics. See submission guidelines here. The arbiter of the feature is the magazine’s poetry editor, John Mulrooney.

Arts Fuse editor Bill Marx

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