Kim Nall

Kim Nall is a poet and educator from Dallas, Texas. She holds a BA in Communication Studies from the University of North Texas and is an MFA candidate at Carlow University, where she co-curates and co-emcees the Raising Our Voices Alumni Reading Series. Her work has appeared in Poetry Quarterly, Red Wheelbarrow, and at the Dallas Museum of Art. She was recently named a finalist for the Fingal Poetry Prize (2020) and a semifinalist for the Red Wheelbarrow Poetry Prize (2021).

New Year’s Day

The year’s first cigarette burns too close to my fingers,
red and volatile as the Molotov cocktails we lit
instead of candles on the night of your funeral.

I contemplate that dangerous warmth,
pulling my jacket tighter over the holes in my clothes
because I feel nothing
except for the dulled teeth of winter bruising my chest,

and there are some holes
that no amount of black leather
can shield from the wind.

now we know what we mean when we say water is holy

Dallas, February 2021

now we know what we mean when we say water is holy

Holy like the river they dammed to build this city,
the alchemy of water for oil, bricks for barons

and mud flats for everyone else, a whisper of water
for the muddy hands that built it

Holy like the floods that shake the South,
where the Word is water, that shake our faith

and turn Saints to refugees, lining up in the
Superdome to receive the sacrament

of a boxed meal and two nine-ounce bottles
while the storm rages in the streets

Holy like the thaw, like black ice, slush,
the drama of folly and escape, holy like

the communion of a gushing fire hydrant,
neighbors filling pots, buckets, desert mouths, a river

swirling luxuriously at our feet and flowing,
glittering, into the gutters—

Holy like that, like
shall we gather at the river