At First

by Emma Bolden

The world whirs: vetiver and violins,
lilac and lion’s roar, lilies, dogwood and daisies

rip off their green shawls to show you
their white fringe of hair, asters

upholster the pathways purple, the fish kisses
the side of her bowl and even ice

cubes clink thanks for their glass. Love
new, and you knew the world new

defined, all a dictionary of him—stem
to be plucked by his fingers, lamp

that which lit his bristl’d chin—the whole
world, the whole world

of him, the whole world a hymn.

Emma Bolden’s chapbooks include How to Recognize a Lady (part of Edge by Edge, Toadlily Press), The Mariner’s Wife (Finishing Line Press), and The Sad Epistles (Dancing Girl Press). She was a finalist for the Cleveland State University Poetry Center’s First Book Prize and for a Ruth Lily Fellowship. She is an assistant professor of Creative Writing at Georgia Southern University.