Philip Nikolayev



Stand up and in the sudden noise free peace
past midnight confidentially return
the candle upon the mental mantelpiece
and let it burn a little, let it burn.

And let it shine, if slightly, let it shine.
This type of light source will not take too long
to rouse from sleep the shadow porcupine;
to boot, this will require a length of song.

By candlelight, by angled candlelight!
Entanglement. Life, how is one to power it?
Encumberment. Though not, thank God, dismemberment.
You’ll end up getting over it, from under it.

We are the human nexus, Dr. Kennedy.
What was that tune they always played before,
a simple waltz or military threnody
with use of brass and timpani galore?

PHILIP NIKOLAYEV is a poet and literary scholar. He is co-editor-in-chief of Fulcrum: an Annual of Poetry and Aesthetics. His latest poetry collection is Letters from Aldenderry (Salt).