Down It Came

BY Arielle Nelson

     after Joshua Beckman
The walls. The water running through
your hands. The house and the walls
and the hallways in the house
flooded. The water. The crushing grin
creeping across your face. The walls.
The broken frame against the floor.
The water. Your face. A broken
frame against the floor. The walls.
The frozen. A broken frame against
the floor. The living. The frozen. Water
through your hands. Seizing. A broken frame
against the floor. The frozen. The living.
The floor. The skin. Your face. The frozen.
The living. A broken frame against the floor.


Now you pack up her aging dolls,
fold their arms across shallow chests
that silently hemorrhage sawdust.
She wanted to find the phrases
that you would pause for; like the sound
of steam, simple and searching.
Her fingers were knit in her lap
waiting for the door to open.
Her fingers were digging crescent moons
into her arms, but she didn’t notice.
When it’s finished and we’re lying
in our narrow beds, remembering the way
she whispered to porcelain faces
she won’t hear you
shut the door.


Arielle Nelson is not a mermaid, nor does she play one on TV. She’s from the tiny suburb of Hinsdale, IL, though she spends most of her waking hours being blown between buildings in Chicago. She is the former editor-in-chief of Chimes Magazine and is the current editor-in-chief of Oyez Review. She spends much of her time roaming the halls of Roosevelt University hot on the heels of an MFA in Creative Writing, but in her off hours she enjoys flexing her poetry muscles and playing with her pet rats.