Emma Bolden

Collect of the Widening Gyre

Here I found an echo rung
around the holler that death is.

I stepped inside and saw
a shepherd. A crooked

hook. A falcon severed
from the rope umbilicalling

it to earth. So too the saints
balloon, buoyed by breath

that is if not prayer
then intention to continue.

Living – listen –
is a prayer for action

without the reaction
of an end. All night

the falcon kept sweet
and singing even

as the meadow lost
the notes to its own song.


Emma Bolden is the author of House Is An Enigma (SEMO Press), medi(t)ations (Noctuary Press), Maleficae (GenPop Books), and four chapbooks. A 2017 NEA Fellow in Poetry, her work has appeared in The Best American Poetry, The Norton Introduction to Literature, The Best Small Fictions, and Poetry Daily. She is Associate Editor-in-Chief of Tupelo Quarterly.