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Nicole Tong

Nicole Tong

Nicole Tong holds an MFA from George Mason University and is a recipient of fellowships from George Mason University and the Vermont Studio Center. Her writing has appeared in Red Rock Review, Poetry Southeast, The Northern Virginia Review and American Book Review among others. She lives in Northern Virginia where she teaches English and participates in endurance sports.

Still Life

My skirt bursts into cloud.
Some birds fly away and take with them

The land's color.  For decades I imagine
Everything is left to age and ash.

This is not the work of weather.
This is a color you can't see through,

Can never quite get to divisions of things.
Wasn't I present to close the barn door?

How did need escape me?  Wasn't there always
Milk in the air, covering remains

Until nothing died anymore? Won't the crows
Come back? Didn't the others come to our aide?

Couldn't the maps save us?  Tell us where?
Was this the first time I was shattered,

Remade into the still of snapshot?
I can't say why some birds didn't fly.

Can't name one good reason
For which things stay.

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