BellaOnline Literary Review
Stairs by Albert Rollins


Daphne: Reflections on Pursuit

Nicole Maria Brickman


the vigor of pursuit freezes into
dark boughs and unholy worship
to have, to hold, to crush her tender leaves
of laurel, sweet release — then bitter smoke
She chokes, unable to uproot,
cries bitter tears of sap
no longer a body for his violation, yet
trapped, does she ask, unknowing,
for his hands running through the leaves
of her hair, the length of his body against
her skin’s rough bark? (this craving to be craved)


She works down at the local Wawa and
if you ask her about rivers that grant wishes and girls sprouting
roots and leaves, she smiles and nods, asks for a price check —
clean-up in aisle three and you have a nice day ma’am, don’t
forget to raise your sons right — art of the chase and all that
jazz, whiskey and cigarette smoke clouding the mind
do you think they could be happy together, this
arrogant boy and his almost tree girl, by the beach
she tripped and fell before the words formed in
her mouth (just a girl who could never be as lovely as
a tree, a plant, a weed) this craving to be craved.


I tell you —
it was my idea to offer myself, modern day
sacrifice, please take the power if you will —
at least I let you think it’s yours,
if my feet swell with water and I need
the sweet heat of the shower,
the bath — I may let you in to the hollowed out places,
but not to the laurel leaves of my mind, you have
tricked me into thinking I need this and I know
it isn’t a matter of force or will, merely this craving to be craved.

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Reader Feedback:
This ´craving to be craved´ seems to have been programed in our genes, ready to bloom in the springtime of our youth . . . the deepest need to be craved, and the deeper need to be loved. Your poem is sterling, Nicole . . . and oh so poignant!

Spring Equinox 2011 Table of Contents