Spotlight: The Examination

How Does Your Body Feel Right Now?

Like I’ve waded into an aboveground pool in a Target bathing suit.
Like I’m a European man with dry mouth.
Like I want to put my fingers somewhere.
Like I wonder if that thigh-chafing butter-stick works.
Like I’ve got to pee out these two glasses of Kombucha.
Come closer.
Like I reek of Tampa.
Like a swallow of wine.
Come even closer.
Like I’m standing in an elementary school talking to other mothers about snacks.
Like I need mouthwash.
Like I need someone to slap me.
Closer still.
Like a radiant pig.
Now, stay. 

How Does Your Central Nervous System Feel Right Now?

I was just thinking, what if I do have satin walls?
What if I do love cranes?
I think probably I am THE ENEMY.
But I like you.
Usually, the chain around my ankle embarrasses me.
A ring of eczema where my ring should be.
Also, under the bridge, the snake eating the blue gill.
I was hungry, too.
Am, I should say, am. Will be.
But a not-wife, I am not.
Throat knot. Heart knot. Whatnot.
I’ve draped my wet pants over the radiator.
And I swear I will not cry publicly.
Not here. Not today.

And Your Brain, How Does It Feel?

Funny that you ask.
It feels like billions of nerve cells arranged in patterns to coordinate thought, emotion, behavior, movement, and sensation.
An egg frying in a frying pan.
Sheet music.
An egg in a nest.
An egg being pushed out of a bird.
Getting laid by?
A bird.
My mother (still radiant) when they took her.
A slapped face slapped again.
That painting with its sky.
The broken shell of a robin’s blue egg clinging to my thumbnail.

Nicole Callihan writes poems and stories. Her poetry books include SuperLoop (2014) and Translucence (with Samar Abdel Jaber, 2018), and the chapbooks: A Study in Spring (with Zoë Ryder White, 2015), The Deeply Flawed Human (2016), Downtown (2017), and Aging (2018). Her novella, The Couples, was published by Mason Jar Press in Summer 2019. Find out more at