Centerpieces at the Inn

James B. Nicola

In the lobby, twelve bell jars of potpourri,

one on each table, greet the guested world,

their burrs, cones, stems and leaves, uniformly

blue, as they’ve been dyed, the dried leaves, curled.

One guest grunts a comment about the bell jar

at the last vacant table, takes his place

for breakfast, and is joined. A foreigner,

he is not understood. And yet his face

shines like the rest’s, reflecting leaves and burrs.

Two ladies have applied blue eye shadow

and scented themselves like the conifers,

whose heirs they’ll feed one day, like all the guests,

in random forests or a cultured row,

between their travels and their good nights’ rests.


About the Author

James B. Nicola’s poems have appeared in Lowestoft Chronicle, Antioch Review, Southwest Review, Atlanta Review, Rattle, and Poetry East. His nonfiction book Playing the Audience won a Choice award. His four poetry collections are Manhattan Plaza, Stage to Page: Poems from the Theater, Wind in the Cave, and Out of Nothing: Poems of Art and Artists. sites.google.com/site/jamesbnicola.