Two Poems by Nicole Inge

Night Draws and Erases

I haunt myself on the suburban sidewalk
because here, in the dark, I do not need
to hurry. I am not weighted by anything,
there are no rocks left in my pockets.
I do not chase ghosts, though they follow
closely, form themselves against my skin.
Instead, I hurtle on like an asteroid, every
footstep quaking, ankles creaking in this
light pollution night. There are no windows
to reflect back at me, so I rush on—full of old
spirits knocking around. Each movement
becomes a new scene framed in the downtown
storefronts. Everything capable of change
in the alchemy of the in-between.

Afterhours in the Mutter Museum

I slice my body into pieces
and slide into the display cases.
A security light sweeps by one
final time and the door click shuts.
Now the only light is my skin,
a soft phosphorescence that glows
like a radium girl. Alone now, I piece
myself together: foot to anklebone,
head delicate on wobbling neck.

The task of slipping through inkiness
begins; I slide past the liver cast
of Chang and Eng, past the waving
skeleton of the world’s tallest man,
past the jars of fetal specimens
beginning to wake. Down the hallways
I glide, a ghost nodding to the collection
of skulls on the wall. I am here to search
for artifacts left out of the main museum
because I fit in better with the objects
too fragile to be put on display. […]

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Nicole Inge received her MFA from George Mason University. She has worked with Fall for the Book, was the assistant poetry editor for So to Speak, and teaches elementary schoolers creative writing. Her work has appeared in Remington Review, Moonchild Magazine, and Cauldron Anthology.