issue 31 poetry

Line Work

by H.M. Cotton

Miami by Anthony Afairo Nze

Line Work

Because I spread

            the grout by hand

along the tile’s

            corner seam, and

because the seams

            are just an eighth

the mix goes on

            easier than it comes

away; and grit

            grimes under

my nails, looks like dirt

            or, rather, ash

brings back the time I spent

rearranging bones

inside the crematorium

before I’d have to grind

the spine, chunks of skull,

            and whatever bits the fire

didn’t get, to bag and box

            for mantles and bedside

tables, and now—like then—

the black lather

trying to soap

            the stain away.

H. M. Cotton is the managing editor of Birmingham Poetry Review, contributing editor for NELLE, and production manager for both journals. Her writing appears in places such as Greensboro Review, Poetry South, and SmokeLong Quarterly. She is the founding director of the SPARK Writing Festival and teaches at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

Anthony Afairo Nze is a graphic designer from Indianapolis, Indiana. His artwork is created through Adobe photoshop and hand-drawn. For more of his art, visit his Instagram at @afairosgallery.