Salamander 2024 Fiction Contest

SUBMIT: May 1 through June 2, 2024 | READING FEE: $15


Two Nests

Gary Sokolow
| poetry


And maybe I’ll go back someday and stand

in the shadow of the crab apple tree,

look up at the window of the old apartment,

stand under the leaves until my old neighbor

Rose emerges with her cane, her two Pekingese,

watch as she waves to the doorman, and I’ll

stand there until I see my son teeter and crash

as he used to into that same bench, scrape

his knee, learn again how the body’s unmade,

heals, even as the mind scars, and then I’ll stroll

through the lobby up to that apartment and out

onto the terrace, fifteen stories high, wonder

if my heart will race, try to leap from my

body like the first time, and should I have

one more spring and one more Fall

I’d fill that terrace again with the red

and orange peppers, buckets of basil,

yellow zinnias, indestructible the length

of summer. And again the morning glories

will sprawl, overtake the railings, my wild green,

my sanctuary, a Rousseau painting, a jungle,

where I’d be the lion at the center, forgetting

the city noise and the concrete lurking below,

and this time I won’t turn away the family

of pigeons, will welcome them into our living

room, share pictures of our son, and I’ll

talk twigs with the father, ignore the trail

of feathers, give him a gift of a pipe cleaner,

and I know at some point he’ll have to bring

up the nest, the two eggs, I took down and

left in the bushes between buildings, the home

they’d made under our wicker love seat,

and I’ll have to keep quiet, turn from his

inquisitive head, and how I know I’ll forget

to ask him if he would have given up his

green paradise for a family of strangers,

and would he stand by me, peck the ground

at my feet, as I stare at those windows searching,

keep me happy, keep me sane, dancing, his little

pigeon dance, on those sad little pigeon legs.

Gary Sokolow has a long ago MFA (Brooklyn College), lives in NYC, and currently works in finance. His poems have appeared in Nixes Mate ReviewBlood Lotus Review, and Up the Staircase Quarterly. Additionally, two poems will be published in the upcoming winter edition of Third Wednesday.

Editor’s Note
The things we do for love