Rebecca Nelson

She walks in the soft damp,

early dusk. The city hushes

to purple and pigeons,

empty park benches

still warm where

bodies pressed together.

The duckpond catches moon

and feathers, everything

but her coat, almost

wing-like with shadow.

Streets twist up

hills lined with homes,

red-tiled roofs.

She does not fit

into the existing

narrative. We do

not see her run,

prayer-like in the waning light:

just the slick, pink dust

stirred up from the road,

or the unsettled column of

leaves rising. We do not

have a word for her yet,

not for the way she loves.

Perhaps something long and sweet,

rustling, furtive as aspen

leaves in the wind

planted miles from where

they’re supposed to be.

We are not ready for the song

she whispers to herself,

but we need and remember it

as wood and creaking light.

In the plaza, she’s among us.

Water films over her tracks.

Fog webs through trees.

She watches the river and shouts music.

Rebecca Nelson is pursuing a PhD in ecology at the University of California Davis. She researches plant and pollinator conservation. Her poetry has appeared in Deep Wild Journal, Common Ground Review, Kelp Journal, and the Great Lakes Review. Her first collection of poems, Walking the Arroyo is available on Kindle. When she’s not chasing bumblebees or writing, she enjoys watching birds.

Invisible Woman