the next field over (2)

like monarchs

bitter from all the milkweed

hope, in its before-form,

is only a measure of protection

i swallow, drink from wind.

how i squash that same old, same old

tamp it down with the tin.

maybe it’s best to not turn from the truth

but truth is really just what sticks best

like beggar’s lice hitching a ride

to the next field over, delicate

in its grabbing.

today, spackle

yesterday, i sanded

and i admit, i like to feel useful,

worries smoothing out with the grain.

what passes through my hands

the tremble between the wing

and the thorn— truer

than true still.

nicole v basta

NICOLE V BASTA’s chapbook ‘V’ was chosen by Rigoberto González as the winner of The New School’s Annual Contest. Recent work appears or is forth- coming in The Shallow Ends, SWWIM, Ninth Letter, Nat. Brut, Pinwheel, New South, etc. Find her hologram at

Contributions by nicole v basta