about a murmuration of starlings
good and now
scan the symbols
perform the relevant computations
share the coordinates
To check if it were febrile, I touched the back of a hand
I felt velvet—crushed and expectant.
I felt a crease.
In 2008, a man visits the Shrine of Fatima Masumeh in Qom. His name is [redacted].
He has black hair, tufting back from a widow’s peak.
He is [redacted] years old but looks years younger.
At first, he fixes his gaze strictly in front of his body. Like a sharpshooter. Like a carpenter square.
Then, by increments…
about a murmuration of star—
To check if it were real, I touched the tip of an eyelash—
The longest chain not only serves as proof of the sequence of events witnessed—
I felt a pulse.
The only way to confirm the absence of [redacted] is to be aware of all [redacted].
By increments, he looks up.
Like night-blooming cereus…
Our definition of nonce forms may be considered by some too loose, by others too restrictive, and maybe that’s for the better. So here goes: a nonce form is generally created by a poet for a specific poem but may, over time, and with repeated usage by subsequent poets, become a “received form.” We cast a broad net, from the more traditional sense of stichic and/or stanzaic patterns generated/”invented” for a specific poem, to a more liberal definition wherein we most verge towards “organic form” (as in Levertov’s “form is the revelation of content” or Creeley’s “form is never more than the extension of content”).
A maw studded with eyeteeth
the color of which
suggests St. Elmo’s fire.
the sequence of events witnessed—
I felt it pulse.
“I saw my life branching out
before me like the
green fig tree in the story.”
If he doesn’t make a lucky lunge forward early on, his chances become vanishingly small as he falls further behind.
about a murmur—
The network is robust in its unstructured simplicity.
The man stands transfixed by the vault of the shrine.
Each cornice shudders through his body with a multifoliate, machinic violence.
Others, detecting his invalidity, learn to move around him.
A murmuration of time.
Finally, he unmakes the arc of his back.
He [redacted] goes home.
He never goes home.
Nakamoto, S. (2008). Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System. https://bitcoin.org/bitcoin.pdf.
Plath, S. (2000). The Bell Jar. Harper Perennial Modern Classics. (First published 1963).
Unsplendid. (n.d.). Nonce Forms. http://www.unsplendid.com/noncedef.htm.
Stephanie Yue Duhem is writing out of Austin, TX. She can be found online @nameandnoun or at www.sydpoetry.com.