Seaweed, scoured from the deep, scatters
its beads upon the beach. Everything broken.
I gather twists and bits, small lives blasted
and holed, shoved aside by the waves, a slattern’s
house(un)keeping, fires heaped with trash,
any salutary offerings to one goddess or another
scrabbled up by dirty hands, a smidge and a smatter
to feed a momentary appetite. So I kick along the tide
line and analogize, my disappearing domestic
bliss no match for weighty issues of war-shatter
everywhere east to west, eruptions staggering the world;
but still, but still, I accumulate little bomblets
of disaster and embrace them, the spatter
of heartsblood ready to fly when the least jounce
lets it all come apart, and so the personal
etc. holds little hands with the larger all the way up, dark matter
flinging this fine universe outward from one hot bang,
farther, colder, the space-between we imagine.
Valerie Nieman’s second poetry collection, Hotel Worthy, was published in spring 2015 by Press 53. She was a 2013-2014 North Carolina Arts Council poetry fellow, and has received an NEA creative writing fellowship in poetry. Her awards include the Greg Grummer, Nazim Hikmet, and Byron Herbert Reece poetry prizes, and her work has been published in Poetry, New Letters, Virginia Quarterly Review, Chautauqua, West Branch, Connotation Press, The Missouri Review, and several anthologies. Nieman is the author of three novels: Blood Clay, a novel of the New South, and Neena Gathering, set in a near future Appalachia. A fourth book, Backwater, is now in submission.
Nieman graduated from West Virginia University and Queens University of Charlotte. A former newspaper reporter and editor, she now teaches creative writing at North Carolina A&T State University. She was a founding editor of Kestrel literary journal and currently the poetry editor of Prime Number magazine.
Mari Hailu is a recent graduate of Southern Methodist University where she simultaneously received a Bachelor of Arts in Music and a Bachelor of Arts in English with a concentration in Creative Writing. Winner of the faculty-nominated 2014 Margaret Terry Crooks Award for Outstanding Creative Writing, and the David R. Russell Poetry Prize, Mari is grateful to be able to share her words with her community. She is a Managing Editor of The Wardrobe, a blog series affiliated with Sundress Publications, and in her spare time she enjoys playing music at local venues.