Zenaida asiatica

White-winged dove

Christopher Nelson



This morning the kitchen floor

cold enough to require socks,


a poisoned little poem in my chest

called “Love in the Empire.”


I’m in the flight path of bomber trainees:

bird song eclipsed by jet engines.


It’s taken years but I’ve quit caring

whether I live


alone. Our love was strongest

two days before you left me,


and I realize now

that means you left yourself too,


such is the conspiracy of union. We were

minor players in a mediocre war.


The sniper had yet to

hang the toddler from the streetlamp


as bait. Is it memory that makes us

identify with the riptide? That day in July


we picnicked at the beach,

a thousand dead jellyfish on the sand


like celestial ejaculation—

nearly all endings dissatisfy.




Christopher Nelson is the author of Blue House, published in the PSA’s New American Poets Chapbook Series. He is an alumnus of the University of Arizona’s Creative Writing Program. His interviews with poets can be read online at Under A Warm Green Linden.