POETRY June 3, 2022

There is No Happiness

like the week after a toothache,
when the halo of pain fades,
and there are no longer ponies
running through your field
of vision, and you’ve stopped
praying, stopped bargaining,
stopped listing all you’d give,
please god, if only. If only,
please god. Then: nothing but
the absence of what defined you,
the sound of your own dumb breath.

Nicole Callihan writes poems and stories. Her books include SuperLoop, The Deeply Flawed Human, and ELSEWHERE (with Zoë Ryder White). Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Kenyon Review, Colorado Review, Conduit, The American Poetry Review, and as a Poem-a-Day selection from the Academy of American Poets. Learn more at www.nicolecallihan.com.