The Winter Palace | Nina Puro

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Nina Puro is a poet, human, & queer weirdo whose writing is in The Atlas Review, Guernica, the PEN/ America Poetry Series, & others. A member of the Belladonna* Collaborative; author of two chapbooks (Argos Books and dancing girl press); recipient of fellowships from the MacDowell Colony, the Brooklyn Community Pride Foundation, & Syracuse University (MFA, 2012), Nina cries and works in Brooklyn.  






If afraid, cured leather & wood-smoke. If forgotten,

sassafras & hominy. If remembered,

bright blue hook. If bereft, lamb sizzling.

If rupture, obsidian &

chickweed. If suture, sleep curled around


a pine tree. If surge, puddle of milk. If shadow,

puddle of gasoline. If gender, shadow hurtling

overhead. If gender, dream in a language


you don't know. If gender, swim

parallel to shore. If morning, sunspots


& black pepper. If mourning, black

spot on a lung. If harvest, blood

sport & blood work.

If language, cracked

branches. If ghost, funeral suit worn

thin at the knees. If rainstorm, core


of candle. If closeness, death wish & warm

dram. If addict, human. If addict, suture


& nuzzle. If caught out, folly

and muzzle. If walk, decade of

tiny crosshatches. If ruby glass, pick out


the stitches with your teeth.
If itch, reorganize the sky.
If itch, dropped stitch & chipped


saucer. If blackout, cinnabar

& fallout shelter. If walk, keep walking.