Deanna Nikaido


NOVEMBER 7, 1999

Closer than the body would ever allow

A place where tears bend light
and parallels intersect

Behind the dam of a single word
this story wells.

SEPTEMBER 13, 2001

How far does the sound
of one bird's open ended warble reach
if nothing is solid
and the air is filled with continuing?

If every cell is a tilted domino
leaning into the next
then I am the last word of your conversation
and the beginning of your next.

If memory were long enough to fill this presence
If the same invisible verb that whispers bloom to the rose
and dawn to my eyes were a noun I could touch

If this ink from my pen
is the breath of a child
in his mother's love
then language is feeling
and words are hollow cups
poured and pouring.

And this bottomless fear . . .
the one that fits inside every separation
cannot cap this sky.

Still . . .
I count stars like bread crumbs
across every darkness
feeling the pressure of grace
outgrowing limitation
my future already turning inside the heart
of one who holds me close
the one whose name secretly frames forever
the one who balances the clock I break
between sunrise and sunset.

Every thread of distinction
between you and I
is a safety net.

Undissolved sugar
at the bottom of a drink
we stir
and stir
continuing like breath through sleep
in a country the body has no geography for.

This glass moment
slipping from outline
This full fragrant prayer
exhaled in one night's glory
is a beheaded love
carried everywhere the wind blows . . .

How can we breathe this miracle
and remain ordinary?

Hold ourselves
in a state of unscented captivity
drown in the shallow end
of questions
we can’t seem to touch
the bottom of.



Vicente Pascual
Es nitido el reflejo
en el agua serena, 1988

Oil on canvas, 77" by 32"

see more work by
Vicente Pascual




JULY 18, 2005

Show me a sign
that factors fear agreeably
over the denominator of my discomfort
so I reduce proportionately
all the weight
that keeps me from solving
this light bearing equation of love.

NOVEMBER 29, 2002

Every leaf
while on its tree
sways in unison,
bears the same
light and shadow,
is sustained
by the same sap
that will release it
in blazing color.

It is that moment
before falling
we all live for,
to see ourselves
for the first time,
to hear our name
being called
from the inside.



APRIL 3, 2005

It is our first mystery
the evolution of this sacred breath
so much so that
the temples we build outside
the ones we live within
themselves become our questions.

It’s in the symmetry of you and I
where thoughts reflect or crack
the mirror of another’s soul;
where underneath the starlight
of this stubborn flesh
our human, godly borders slip
and endlessness sets in.

However you perceive your distance
this nearness is the same
for it stands at the center
of all we would surrender
to lose ourselves in this
unscientific desire for wholeness.

It’s almost inhumane
that we contain this secret
and that this very poem’s escape
from love's embrace;
an accidental separation
a little death from point of view
where the ache of being human
reaches for a brush or pen
any tool to understand
why the tree is figless when
the green palms of its branches
cup the light.

When night falls
and our illiterate dreaming begins
the soft footsteps of
that sleepless keeper enter
the unmapped detours of
our shortcuts to this silence.

Who is this permanent resident
occupying the trenches
of our lofty miscalculations
that makes this body feel
like an eyedropper full of ocean
a sponge absorbing the infinite?

I would walk all day
around this lake
whose depth
I cannot measure
to feel myself dropping
like a stone into its center
to touch the bottom
of that sky.

Deanna Nikaido spent her undergraduate years in the Maryland / DC area while attending the University of Maryland then went on to graduate from Art Center College of Design with a BFA in Illustration. She has been featured at venues including the Capital BookFest, and The Rumi Festival at the Visionary Art Museum. Vibrating with Silence (The Writers Lair, 2006) is her first poetry book.


Published in Volume 8, Number 2, Spring 2007.