A Carving – James B. Nicola

Uncouth it was, a fall from grace,
but when we passed the thick-barked tree
I heard it, rustling, asking me

to carve initials on its face—
four—enclose them, and then trace
a heart around them, making two
one, albeit metaphorically.

For Antony and Romeo
are known only from what was later  
written of them; but we know

Abelard from what he penned
himself! You see, I couldn’t wait. Or
maybe I didn’t care who’d see,
nor how the hell the tale might end,

but could no longer bear to be
but half a whole, with-out the heart
wherein I blaze as one with you.


James B. Nicola is the author of six collections of poetry: Manhattan Plaza, Stage to Page, Wind in the Cave, Out of Nothing: Poems of Art and Artists, Quickening: Poems from Before and Beyond (2019), and Fires of Heaven: Poems of Faith and Sense (2021). His theater career culminated in the nonfiction book Playing the Audience: The Practical Guide to Live Performance, which won a Choice award.

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