A Fog

Nicole Callihan
| poetry


I have been moving in and out of one. Every few hours, I hold my hand up to my face. If I can see the hand, I move towards the window; if I can’t, I stay in bed. Usually, the fog is caused by an absence of wind. One winter, in Chicago, I walked until my fingers were raw. That night, in a motel room, I rubbed chapstick into the bloody spots of my knuckles. Months later, in Oklahoma, a heat spell blistered my shoulders. It’s not that I need to see. There are walls to run the hands along. The fret. The rolling. The body is strange matter. This mass of me. How moist the land. Scientists measure the depth of fog on the order of tens of centimeters. When mother and I lived in South Dakota we were so far from the grocery store we had to pack our things on dry ice. A hunk of meat, some milk, maybe. I don’t remember what we ate, only that some mornings, before the sun came up, we’d play cards. A six of spades. A jack. A heart. That far up north the sun rose late. When we finally got home, we’d pour water over what was left in the bottom of the brown paper sack, and I’d pretend I was disappearing. Was I? I didn’t yet know much about bodies. Now, though, if I hold my breath long enough, I can feel my solar plexus pulsing. It pulses so hard, I think I might drown. But I don’t.

Nicole Callihan’s books include SuperLoop (2014), and the chapbooks: The Deeply Flawed Human (2016), Downtown (2017), The Couples (a novella, 2019), and ELSEWHERE ( w/ Zoë Ryder White, 2020).

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