“Still” by Nancy Miller Gomez

Nancy Miller Gomez


The last apple hangs on into winter. 
Drops of rain-sweat slide down its mottled skin, 
catch light from the sun and turn gold. 
Shriveled and brown as a shrunken head, 
it holds onto the branch even while falling
further into itself.

Isn’t persistence beautiful?

The woman who shows up daily
for her dose of methadone.
The man punching the clock shift after shift
though he carries his heart through each day 
in a cold, empty chest. The small boy 
who tries to make sense of the lines 
his teacher has made on the chalkboard.

How do we keep on? 

The bird drops its song, over and over, 
picking it up and dropping it, 
little notes spilling down the mountain.

My father on his deathbed, eyes still filled 
with wonder, he lingers longer and longer
in the spaces between each breath, 
stepping carefully onto the ledge 
of his last thought.

from Rattle #74, Winter 2021


Nancy Miller Gomez: “Mostly my poems are collections of things I’ve noticed that circle some central query—in this case, how are we able to persist when life can be so remarkably painful? And yet within that pain we often find the most beauty.” (web)

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