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With You
What's In a Name?
November 29, 2002
February 28, 2007
Had I Known
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Deanna Nikaido next poem

How far does the sound
of one birds open ended warble reach
if nothing is solid
and the air is filled with continuing?

If every cell is a tilted domino
leaning into the next
then I am the last word of your conversation
and the beginning of your next.

If memory were long enough to fill this presence
If the same invisible verb
that whispers bloom to the rose
And dawn to my eyes were a noun I could touch

If this ink in my pen
is the breath of a child
in his mother's love
then language is feeling
and words are hollow cups
poured and pouring.

And this bottomless fear
the one that fits inside every separation
cannot cap this sky
still I count stars
like breadcrumbs across every darkness
feeling the pressure of grace
outgrowing limitation
my future already turning inside the heart
of one who holds me close
the one whose name secretly frames forever
the one who balances the clock I break
between sunrise and sunset.

Every thread of distinction
between you and I
is a safety net.

Undissolved sugar
at the bottom of a drink
we stir
and stir
continuing like breath through sleep
in a country the body has no geography for.

This glass moment
slipping from outline
this full fragrant prayer
exhaled in one nights glory
is a beheaded love
carried everywhere the wind blows . . .

How can we breathe this miracle
and remain ordinary
hold ourselves
in a state of unscented captivity
drown in the shallow end
of questions we can't seem to touch
the bottom of.

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Deanna Nikaido next poem
With You

The way the suns warmth
makes leaves shutter
a million miles away

I want that with you.

I want the translation
lengthening in a seed
when earths dark night will not release it

the headless splendor
of instinct
unlike any human tarring
pushing through bark.

Is there any other way
to want you more
turn that burning color
just before
leaves fall

let loose the branch
without a flutter
land completely earth
kissing the ground
with your lips.

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Deanna Nikaido next poem
What’s In a Name?
Sea of Japan / East Sea

I have three names for my daughter—
The one given her at birth.
The one that came after.
And the one only I call her by.


Isn’t it true
that naming makes us part of
anything we love?
And that the sound of it
makes a home inside.

Yet what would water say to all of this?
Water, who framed by banks is all reflection.
Merging with whatever comes to touch

Water, whose polar molecule
makes a bond so close
life can make a home it it.

are mostly water.

And the banks of our skin shape the wind
our voices make through the small well
we’ve been gifted—What then
would this marginal Sea say of herself?

Fish call her Home.
Sustainer—to the roots of trees.
And sky who would otherwise
never see itself—Hallelujah.

She will outlive the secrets she’s been told—
and make poets out of those
who recite the moon in her voice.

She is baptism and bottomless answer.
The synonym for sun and remembering both.
Too happy for dreams she flows
as do all things that seek to merge
with One great ocean do
into that great choir of names—
the waves that take them everywhere.

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Deanna Nikaido next poem
November 29, 2002

Every leaf
while on its tree
sways in unison
bears the same
light and shadow,
is sustained
that will release it
in blazing color.

It is that moment
before falling
we all live for,
to see ourselves
for the first time,
to hear our name
being called
from the inside

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Deanna Nikaido next poem

Less Than One
The Art of the Infinite
The Theory of Everything
Jungles of Randomness
The Mystery of the Aleph

books she's never read . . .

Maybe it's because
she was never any good at math
that the intrigue of loving someone who was
made flames she would go up in.
A love by numbers
the way children connect the dots
obeying the order of outcomes
their predictable outcomes
a love of loving numbers so intense
that love itself becomes
the equation
the constant
its variables
and all remainder.

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Deanna Nikaido next poem
February 28, 2007

There would be nothing between us
if this skin were to disappear
if this boat were to vanish

No motion but your presence
dreaming into the arch
of your weight
each breath
a wave come to rest
at the back of my neck
your arms the shore
where I crash

this hourglass
you tip.

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Deanna Nikaido next poem
Had I Known

I cried the season
the ball that never left your hand passed
taking the whole sky with it . . .

If I had known
you would lose your way like this
I would have blinded you myself
taught you braille
called back Magellan.

I would have replaced
those insufficient words
with rose petals
to ease your marathons
of restlessness.

I would have told you
tales of sailors and seas
their ships and rocks
not fairytales
because inside the boy
my gestations walks alone
among unreturned messages
and body cravings
I have no umbilical cord for.

Tell me are you far from here?

Do you remember how you once rocked;
breathed that small ocean?
How you floated perfectly beneath my ribs
so close to my heart?

Do you remember those days of enlightened limbo?
Your name before its slip into letters?

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