Poetry by Nic Alea

Image by Nicole Miller / driftingpaper.com


Proclaim & Write So

i smelled death on her immediately /
or light
what method of divinity surrounds her / oceans swarming with voices / when i am alone i chew myrrh gum until my teeth are strong as wood until my breath as potent as sacrifice / her clothes, although scrubbed with river stones, still weighed heavy with rain and musk / body jolted in the small cell of her room / the visions stuffed away into the thick lining of her robes / and this, a bad opinion, for the entrance of sickness was swift as a knife to a swine slaughter / and she, experienced as she were, fled into the chapel and sat a solitary mass in which God’s mouth opened wide and a rush of incense filled the space and demanded write, to write, to write, proclaim and write so

& the land shook, the goats kicked their cloven hooves & the girl, who now was nun, woman, abbess, plucked a single goose feather from a startled bird and it was so.




all night i sit in prayer, clasped hands,
Sister Hildegard’s voice, a soft wind along my neck,

i try to find the veil to lift
and then breathe in the words of God

but i find only light of green,
lime as grapes from the vine,

the tart meat of the fruit
stinging the back of my jaw.

Hildegard speaks of light,
orbs glowing and weightless,

i see only the candles lit
along the back wall of the chapel,

i see only the bouncing flame
of bees wax melt into pools,

i see only ghosts of those
with stones imprinted on their backs,

ropes burned around their throats,
i see only ghosts of deviant sex

holding bouquets of roses,



Nic Alea is a non-binary queer who holds fellowship from the Lambda Literary Foundation and was voted one of SF Weekly’s “Best Writers without a Book.” Nic has work featured in journals such as Muzzle Magazine, the Paris American, decomP, Reservoir, Lambda Literary and others. From California, Nic currently lives, writes, and reads tarot in Narrm (Melbourne, Australia). Find more at nicaleawrites.com.