The Art of Recollection by Nicholas Goodly

[[Naomi’s note, Friday, Mar. 24, 2023. Nicholas’s poem speaks into a memory shaped like an orb and accessed through a pinhole. There is a sense of inescapability, as the prose layers atop itself like liquid brocades of silk, and they cast a distance resigned to the ever-haunting, cyclical nature of human existence.]]

I was young it was the house that I remembered where I couldn’t get out wet and sliding my mother dressed like the bed I was these shadows of monsters it began because of the black cats running across the wall tangled into reality I was the strangest thing I was becoming different I didn’t change drastically I was the house I remembered living becoming conscious I couldn’t get out I tried to crawl down this witch I could tell it was my mother I was afraid of outside it was strange I woke up from the dream I was my mother and father I looked at life I sat up and I was sick the bedroom door was there shadows walking shadows of monsters gruesome but defined shapes they were round I woke my dad my father and I had a fever I took me in to the kitchen me up on the counter and he was medicine for me and entryway there was this coat hanger at the coat hanger and black cats running down and crawling at the border where the ceiling meets the coat hanger tangled black it was the dream of reality the thing about right now is change I was a witch my mother was my mother my dad woke my father I had three black cats my entire existence is drastically this

Nicholas Goodly is the author of Black Swim (Copper Canyon, 2022). They are a  team member of the performing arts platform Fly on a Wall and assistan poetry editor for The Southeast Review. Nicholas was a finalist for the 2020 Jake Adam York Prize, runner-up for the 2019 Cave Canem Poetry Prize, and recipient of the 2017 Poetry Society of America Chapbook Fellowship, among other awards. Their work has appeared in The New Yorker, Boston Review, BOMB, The Poetry Project, Lambda Literary, Narrative Magazine, and elsewhere.