“how to fold a stone” by Nicole Oquendo

2019-2020 Poetry Contest Third-Place 


this farm has taught me how to fold a stone
with words, a whisper
from a couch, not stretched out but so upright
it hurts the back, straining,
i leave this behind

to cast the spell, gather
a listener, who will sit with you quiet
wail until there’s no room left for wailing
and pressed close fold your hands

the labor is over
the season of stone is over
the listener a stone all along,

and how to explain to another
that a farmer’s work is never done
there’s always a father, there’s always fruit
calcified, waiting to be folded
and folded away


Nicole Oquendo is a writer and visual artist that combines these elements, along with magical practice, to craft multimodal nonfiction, poetry, and fiction, as well as translations of these forms. Their work can be found in numerous literary journals, a hybrid memoir, and six chapbooks, including their most recent works: Space Baby: Episodes I-III and The Antichrist and I. They are also an Assistant Editor for Sundress Publications, and their most recently curated anthology, Manticore: Hybrid Writing from Hybrid Identities, is available for free on the Sundress Publications website.

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