"but as graves might be arranged"
The tables in the work hall at MetLife
where lawyers drafted wills for all
laid out in roomy rows too plush
but as graves might be arranged
The chairseats soft as soil did not scold
and slid with ease atop the charcoal carpet
out and in
When we were done
we quit the gray fluorescence all refreshed
for midtown's manic loud kaleidoscope
and moldy moons of readiness for life
The lawyers stayed behind
for lunch was catered
with stunning taste and more of us were coming
James B. Nicola’s poems have appeared in the Antioch, Southwest and Atlanta Reviews; Rattle; and Barrow Street. His seven full-length collections (2014-22) are Manhattan Plaza, Stage to Page, Wind in the Cave, Out of Nothing: Poems of Art and Artists, Quickening, Fires of Heaven, and Turns & Twists (just out). His nonfiction book Playing the Audience won a Choice award. His poetry has received a Dana Literary Award, two Willow Review awards, Storyteller's People's Choice award, one Best of Net, one Rhysling, and eight Pushcart nominations—for which he feels both stunned and grateful. A graduate of Yale, he hosts the Hell's Kitchen International Writers' Round Table at his library branch in Manhattan: walk-ins welcome.