Sarah Nichols lives and writes in Connecticut. She is the author of eight chapbooks, including She May Be a Saint (Porkbelly Press, 2019), and This is Not a Redemption Story (Dancing Girl Press, 2018.) Her poems and essays have also appeared in Five:2:One Magazine, the Ekphrastic Review, Drunk Monkeys, and FreezeRay.
After My Mother’s Death, “Mother” and “Death” Become Predictive Text
My mother is
My mother was
My mother is nowhere
She is everywhere
In the predictive text of my tongue, she is
My mother’s body is ash in
a blue marble box
I did not see my mother’s soul ascend to heaven
when she died
My mother is without pain now
My mother is gone
After My Mother’s Death, I Eat at Chipotle
I take a seat in the back. The
lunch time crowd is thinning, and I
wonder if I can eat
grief. This is what I have instead of
casseroles and cheese trays, the
meals prepared by others that are
supposed to last for days.
Mother, I think, is another word for food. Or
maybe it’s another word for mouth.
You’re eating too much. You’re eating too
little. The purple tartan skirt, the one I wore
in fifth grade, is enough reason for
Food is another word for drug.
The one we shared, arms entwined,
feeding each other, saying
the diet will work.
This hole will be closed.
After My Mother’s Death, A Man Asks Me if I’m Ready to Accept Jesus
It might be two or three weeks later. Heat-
groggy, waiting on a bus to take me
Over-turned grocery cart metal digs into
my thighs, thinking that the afterlife
could be anything, and I shade my eyes
against a Christian soldier who asks if
I’m ready to accept Jesus
as my lord and savior.
No. Can he pray for me ? I tell
him to pray someplace else and I
wonder what my mother, who was fine with
motherfucker but not
I have fights to pick with Jesus, questions
a five year old would ask:
why did you let her die ?
Doesn’t her being a nun mean anything to you at all ?
Did she find you in all the religious tracts that
covered her bed in the
nursing home ?
I wait for signs. A dim star where she
can make a collect call. The heaven she