James P. Nicola




Returning


I ring at the door where I stayed awhile,
a while ago. A stranger stands before
me: strange until I recognize the smile
now higher than my own, plus several more
adjusted by the ages. At the fire,
the daughter dares to dredge a long-tired joke.
We laugh and reminisce, no, reconspire
the pranks we’d played on walks around the lake.

The cocker spaniel purrs, my pal again,
and wags. Then, weary of formalities,
she circles close, remembering the days
she leapt in laps, and nuzzles through my knees
to lodge a warm, wet and willing chin.
A thumping tail inquires where I have been.




James B. Nicola’s full-length collections are Manhattan Plaza (2014), Stage to Page (2016), Wind in the Cave (2017), Out of Nothing: Poems of Art and Artists (2018) and Quickening: Poems from Before and Beyond (2019). His nonfiction book Playing the Audience won a Choice award. He is the facilitator for the Hell's Kitchen International Writers’ Roundtable, meeting twice monthly at the Columbus Library in Manhattan, which has so far seen participants from four states, five boroughs, and six continents. Walk-ins welcome!








                                    

 

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