Nick Alti

Solitude Audible

Never has night been so alive as the inaugural hour
of your new alone.

Instructions for planting a hyacinth:
get a shovel from any unlocked shed
eat dirt
stop it, stop eating all this dirt
nowhere left for the hyacinth
eat your famine-worthy dirt, feel meaningful if possible.

Coyotes in nearby wild howling
frightening you howling
to summon homeward what’s been lost. Tear apart a tomcat
to face no moment quiet. Away from moon
two comets weep Zion wide open.

You’ll need hear only once
I don’t know how long I can love you
to agree. Afterwards,
you’ll maintain yourself in the way a starling
hijacks a robin’s nest; how an ocean
vomits intestines of an elephant seal ravaged by the jaws of a shark.

In each picture you’ve collected—embarrassed for being sentimental—you’ll discover
traces of sadness on every face no matter what background foliage blossoms.
One thing lighting doesn’t change is that you’re awful.

Those comets you beg to pause in sky
dissipate into living night
leaving you to truly confront entropy;
never in astronomy have you more than this desired pity.

Lone coyote can’t sleep amidst such audible hopelessness; so loud are the leaves curling up,
wanting for rain.

Something (bird?) near the concord vineyard
has been screaming every day. Not cawing, no normal warbles.
Within this birdish thing                     there’s agony.
You wonder when you’ll start to grow feathers.



On my roof with him
you watch Northern Lights pulse beautiful, beautiful
while I, Fuseli’s mangled dreamwork
hunt an earwig in the attic.
I am now Lord Pale Nightwalker;
every light shown on me reveals a nightmare.

Never think of me as a miracle—those are beneficial anomalies.
Are you as sad as you look?
you asked before you climbed the utility pole, hand in his, to my roof.
To pretend it was me instead, I undress
in this parasitic crawlspace. I’m a conflagration
driving things that have hearts
far away from me.

I hear you together above me.
He fills you like a wound healing.

I eat no savior’s flesh,
drink no good man’s blood. I’m learning
how to distinguish field mice by the shape of their ears
as he learns the freckles of your thighs,
lips upon constellations.

No great light shines through the warm space
between his hand & your hip, his tongue
& your clit.

Is this your famous kiss?

I exist as a spear-ridden mastodon nearing a cliff; I crave
to feel like weather—
everywhere & genuine.



A warning, a shout from the forest—forget the lake
where singing dissipates;

the drowned want you sunk.
Me think, well, me thinking I go about
in a deluge, a delirium/sybaritic tremens
not very less painful than a selenic implosion
but certainly with less effect on gravity as a whole.

I’m trying to say I see you always in turbulence.
It’s the universe telling us we need time apart;           lacuna              fermata.


Take a picture of Lake Erie & bathe with it,
bathe in it,
bathe in your new tenderness; I’ll take your leftover watercolors
& mix it with blood from the woodchuck
your father trapped last August.

All of this to say conversation with you anymore is a sad thunder.
Maybe, in a while, we can be pen pals.
(While waiting I’ve forged a letter to a prisoner
asking for a drawing of an abstract corpse in response. I signed it Mother dearest.)


We never figured out your great fear of water.
Page two of my book misses being a tree.
It’s a tome of potential titles for an essay I’ll write on understanding water, or anything within it.
– A Galaxy of Fish
– The Fish is the Galaxy
– River Fishing in Beirut
– Is There an Actual Difference Between a Fish & Myself as a Grown Man Hiding in the Closet?
– fuckfishshitwater
– I’m So Sick of Fish
– Why Did You Move to an Island

It isn’t a good book. I’d rather have
a tree,
either outside
or growing out of my ribcage
blossoming elderberries
for fish to eat.



Nick Alti bartends in Holland, MI. He somehow weasled his way into The University of Alabama’s MFA program starting this August. This is exciting for him, yes, but he fears there will be hurricanes, large mosquitoes, and, quite frankly, hurricanes composed of large mosquitoes. He’s never been farther south than Indiana. He has a crippling fear of balloons (it’s called globophobia okay it’s a real thing) and recently someone tried to gun him down at a drive-through spaghetti restaurant.