Nadia Arioli (nee Wolnisty) is the founder and editor in chief of Thimble Literary Magazine. Their work has appeared or is forthcoming in Spry, SWWIM, Apogee, Penn Review, McNeese Review, Kissing Dynamite, Bateau, SOFTBLOW, and others. They have chapbooks from Cringe-Worthy Poetry Collective, Dancing Girl Press, and a full-length from Spartan.
On “Unicorns Came Down to the Sea” by Kay Sage
At the end of his life, Oedipus dreams
he is the Fisher King. Already,
he knows thigh wounds
and mists that spill out like sour milk
but knows nothing of down to the sea.
Perhaps he has pearls for eyes.
Eyes that were stabbed out by
hairpins, unicorn horns that fit
in fists made slippery from jam.
He casts his rod and waits for tug.
His mind is a mind that rests now,
only one question left
for poor travelers with aching feet.
A riddle set things in motion
but in this last reprieve,
an unknown question is the end
of fallow kingdom.
This is the shape that is waiting:
Blind man, old sins, dreaming
in different stories.
My eyes, too, went to fishy fog,
cataracts beyond surgeon’s hunting.
In the twilight kingdom,
the kingdom of reeds and
princes afraid to pounce,
Oedipus feels a bite.
He wrenches in a trout,
bashes in head on empty
seat next to him. He touches
sea petals and salty bones.
Before waking, he says out loud
My mother is a fish.
On “Point of Intersection” by Kay Sage
I will bake bread,
and share it with you,
because when you were a kid,
you felt like a ghost in your house.
Is it any wonder you could float?
At night, while the heavy ones slept,
you gilded through the kitchen
in socks and pajama bottoms,
stood on furniture, and took
because you could. You said
you only saw the back of things,
then—like seeing the pages
but not the spine, or the ear part
but not the disc.
I don’t know what’s on the other side.
My heart is more Mobius than Euclid.
But I know what it means for two lines
to have a point of intersection.
If the plane is flat, one flash then separation.
But if on a curve, a twist of paper,
one will come back always, but
sea-changed, and on the back,
on the back of things.
I don’t know if it’s odd
or even this time or if it’s me
or you that’s upside down now,
but digestion works from all angles.
And you baked bread
and will share it with me.