Back to Issue Twenty.

impressionist portrait: stepbrother (night)



Blue shadows
on his face: a horizon of snow—endless
this is how old light affects a young vetnew brother
chain smoker—the tip of cigarette between his lips
a pupil blooming
his face lost to light his body by a plate glass
window—I’ve never seen someone so bombed
before haze the color of soottexture of steel
thick hatch of beard
an explosion
wonder which one blotted his ears thinned his limbs
birthed this blue painting
the christmas lights noose behind him the smoke
is sure and smells like death     I’m the only stranger
I’m not blinking and I’m standing too close—all
of him is brushstrokes and blur the lights reveal
small miracles—a mouth red—running.


Originally from Milwaukee, WI, Nora Hickey now lives in Albuquerque, NM where she teaches at the University of New Mexico. Her poetry and nonfiction have appeared in Guernica, Electric Literature, Narrative, the Massachusetts Review and other journals. She podcasts with City on the Edge.

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