Kathy Nilsson

WITH EYES CLOSED I came to life

Stirred by the feel of falling earth or snow

Ground and sky separated long ago

Hours sounded by bells—perhaps

This will be my golden hour

As a world full of water grazes me

With the keel of a petal—

You can finish with me now.


First appeared in VOLT, and most recently in The Infant Scholar (Tupelo Press, 2015)


WITH EXTROVERSION found in herring

Face recognition among

Sheep—dreams of mice asleep in cabins

And laughter in rats after a fall—

Face-up like a head of lettuce in the garden

A woman combs her hair of heavenly phenomena

At the edge of the cosmos and stars in a way



From The Infant Scholar (Tupelo Press, 2015)


Kathy Nilsson lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts, with her husband and son. She earned a BA in English Literature from Mount Holyoke College and an MFA in poetry from the Bennington Writing Seminars. She has received fellowships from the MacDowell Colony and The New York State Writer’s Institute. Her poems have appeared in PloughsharesBoston ReviewPoetry DailyColumbiaVolt, and other literary journals. Her chapbook, The Abattoir, was published by Finishing Line Press in 2008. Her manuscript, Black Lemons, was a finalist in the Tupelo First Book Award, and the manuscript The Infant Scholar was selected for Honorable Mention in the Steven’s Poetry Manuscript Competition sponsored by the National Federation of State Poetry Societies. She is a recipient of the Poetry Society of America’s Robert H. Winner Award.