I can hear the gasp
Unuttered. It is right there,
In the quiet space.

Nichole M. Dulin



Autumn is naturally sad, I think
I watch, on social media, as the natural exuberance of summertime
Fades from the posts and photos of those who are mine.

It’s my natural time of reflection,
As temperatures, and leaves, and spirits drop.

I know many who like it.
The bright colors, the warm comforts of hoodies and hot cider
The joys of Halloween and pumpkins, hayrides and spices.

I like those things, too.
But I’d far rather be sharing a summer evening campfire,
Friends and sarcasm and singing and beers,
In the sweaty heat of an August night
Nowhere to be but there.

Nichole M. Dulin

Cautionary Tale

Uncertain in the present,
But brave as providence.
Meaning effervescent,
Producing little sense.

Time and money vanish.
Strength and slumber wane.
Good intentions banish,
The stupid and the vain.

Somewhere in the middle,
Deep inside the core,
The heart begins to whittle,
The shape of something more.

More than limitations,
Expanding in the sun,
Knowledge of vacations,
Caution tales of Phaethon.

Watching the explosion,
Fireworks on foreign shores,
Checking the emotion,
Invisible on yours.

Pleased to have escaped it here,
And guilty all the same.
Those who skirt the fire,
Shouldn’t glory in the flame.

Nichole M. Dulin


There in the lake’s reflection
I am watching an image
That is like a dream.
Me, but not me.

On the other side
What is the reflection thinking?
Looking back at me?

Does the waterside share the same memories?
Anxieties? Desires?
If I reach in to touch the water, what does the waterside feel?
Where dry meets wet, wet transfers.
Is waterside more me than I am?

I can’t tell.
And it’s hard not knowing.
I feel judged, and also forgiven,
Beautiful and flawed,
Certain and so insecure.

Nichole M. Dulin


I know it is leaking.
I am trying to ignore it.
Exactly how fast does a person drown?

It’s probably not that bad, I tell myself,
as I steer further offshore.
It was watertight yesterday.

Last week a crack appeared.
Once, before, I replaced the glass and that was fine.
So I didn’t worry.

But last week a crack appeared.
And because it was directly across my vision,
I picked at it,
Like a child with a bug bite,
Like my grandmother with a stain on her shirt,
Like candle wax on a tablecloth.

Pick, pick, pick.
Then the drops started.
I watched how it worked at the seam.
Salt droplets on my hand,
Tested on my tongue.

It’s certainly salt.
It could have been condensation, I suppose.
Something produced from heat on the inside.
But no. It’s definitely coming through.
Seeping in like the sweat that rolls down from my temples,
Or drops from my brow onto the controls.

So now what?
Head for safety?
Or trust the glass?

Nichole M. Dulin


There on the vine, the tiny red ball has grown.
Despite time and drought, it is there, hanging
Delicious and tempting
But small and misshapen

Clinging in the mist and rain
To the home that grew it
The vine that was deliberately placed and cared for
The flower that opened and turned
Now hangs.

Ready, but not ready.
It hopes, yearning to be the desired one,
Cupped in a hand that could easily crush it
Wanting the touch, but loving the vine
Paused between for just a moment
It lets go
and is devoured.


Nichole M. Dulin

photo by KZB

The Sun

There in the center

Does she think about Earth?
About the troubles of ants?
And the presence or absence of atmosphere?

Does she contemplate Jupiter’s spot?
Does she imagine, for just  a moment, reaching out to spin the rings on Saturn?
Sending one careening around, like a dropped quarter rolling on its ridges

Perhaps the sun is too busy for that
Managing flares, holding tight to its marble treasures
staying the advancement of time

Perhaps, in the center, she can’t even see it all
How Pluto forgives,
How Venus brushes against the grain,
How  Uranus rolls away perpetually,
Like a dog pulling against a leash that doesn’t give.

Nichole M. Dulin


I noticed today that I had been quietly unfriended by someone I used to know. I’m a little sad, but not deeply offended.

I enjoyed her feed. A nice look into a world so much different than mine. I’m certain it was done without animus. At times I find my life tedious. Perhaps she saw the same. The mommy posts. The innocent work kvetch.

I try to walk the middle of the road. Enough about the kids for the family to keep up, but not enough to make me that mom. A little work complaint, generic enough not to get me fired. No politics. Not much religion. An interesting article here. A funny comment there. A lot of nostalgia.

Am I boring? It feels boring.

I like having people in my feed from different parts of my life. I interact most with my now friends, but I still like to have that six degrees with the old ones. People from outside my circle to feed my perspective. Noticing she was gone felt like a loss.

What a horrible word we’ve created in “unfriending.” The finality and rejection of it. Right now I feel cast aside; pumped out like so much bilge water. There’s a saying, “when a boat runs aground, the sea has spoken.” I can’t quite bring myself to press “friend” again. Because while right now I feel discarded, I feel it in a way of something merely left behind. But, if I try again and am rejected, that seems so much worse.

I seldom use unfriend and only in the most extreme circumstances. I only friend people I know, to start, and I am fond of diversity of opinion. I usually don’t drop people for mere differences of opinion. I have, on occasion hidden a friend who got vitriolic, until such time as the friend calmed down. I hide game requests. Just once, I hid someone for posting food pics too often. But I usually hang on to them as friends, even in those situations. I just minimize their impact, but I can check in to see how they are, when I want to, or when their life measurably changes.

I guess that’s part of the loss really. The feeling that she saw nothing of value in my acquaintance. That I found her more interesting than she found me. An agreement with an already nagging voice that says things here have become too routine, too cyclical, too rural, too…

I’m certain I know the answers here, intellectually. An Eleanor Roosevelt quote comes to mind, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” Today I seem to be yielding that floor. Maybe tomorrow I won’t. Maybe tomorrow I’ll put on the clothes that make me feel whimsical, or strong, or pretty, or  adult. I’ll find the drive to write or craft or do the other things that make me me. I’ll reach out to friends and remind them I’m here, the same person I was before all of my time was swallowed by the demands of third-grade and a yard full of dandelions and downed branches.

Nichole M. Dulin


It’s Not The Raven

Today, on my way to the chiropractor 
And having started out the door with just enough time
Because a package was on the door step 
And I waited to watch the kids open it 

Today, on my way to the chiropractor 
I traveled a shortcut 
The road that winds between the greenhouse 
And the collision repair shop that I watched the Amish workers build last year

Today, on my way to the chiropractor 
I saw twenty or so turkey buzzards 
In the branches of a large brown tree
Over a graveyard 

Today, on my way, a bit late, to the chiropractor 
I stopped to take a crappy cell phone picture
Of the perfect spooky Halloween scene
On a cold, grey Good Friday.

Nichole M. Dulin

Apocryphal Defenestration

Throw it all out I say.
Everything must go today.
This and that, that and this
Say goodbye with a kiss.

You don’t need it,
You never did,
To cling to things,
Is to be a kid.

There’s little you need,
But a roof and a bed,
Not bigger, not more,
Go live instead.

Nichole M. Dulin