Joey Nicoletti: “Higher Unlearning”

Higher Unlearning

Do I have to shower every day
to keep my Mediterranean
hair and skin
in tip-top shape
as I was taught
when I was a child?

I admire the angel
on top of my Christmas tree,
who looks the way I feel
this afternoon, as if I can close my eyes
and smile at anything,
even when the cat climbs
a strand of silver garland
and kicks a ball and bell

to the rug. I am unlearning.
A requiem of sleet
falls hard on the hood
of the SUV in the drive,
its windshield wiper blades
raised like arms without hands.

I discover some paint, on the wall
beside the base of my bathtub,
rolled like scrolls
written by prophets of steam
from shared showers
and post-workday soaks. Then
I watch the dogs and cat
run back and forth with delight;

when they burn off their nervous
energy. Friends, if you want to see
something beautiful, look around you
and in the mirror. If you want to hear
something peaceful, take this moment
and breathe it out. I am unlearning.


Joey Nicoletti‘s most recent books are Thundersnow (2017) and Capicola Slang, which is due out in April 2019. He teaches creative writing at SUNY-Buffalo State. 

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