Kelly Nelson

First Date

Pita torn into ragged half moons.
Hummus and baba ghanoush. I tell him,
“Two sisters, no brothers,” thumb the hem
of the napkin on my lap. How easily

I lie. A family—bright wrapped boxes,
head-thrown-back laughter—disappears
into a curtained-off room. Lamb kebabs
for him, fattoush, no olives, for me.

It will be three months tomorrow since my brother
bought a gun, hours before using it.
He seems nice, seems interested, baklava
on one plate with two forks. “The best scene,”

he says, “is when Gregory Peck remembers.”
“No, the best scene is Bergman walking away.”
No reason he’d read headlines from my hometown.
No reason to pry. Plenty of people don’t have brothers.  

Author Portrait

Kelly Nelson’s forthcoming chapbook, Rivers I Don’t Live By, won Concrete Wolf’s 2013 Chapbook Award. Her poetry has appeared recently or is forthcoming in 2 River View, Mixitini Matrix, I-70 Review and Another Chicago Magazine. She has lived in metro Phoenix without a car for the past 14 years and is currently editing an anthology of car-free poetry: poems in which people walk, bike, ride a bus, subway or train to get around. She teaches Interdisciplinary Studies at Arizona State University.

View the website of Kelly Nelson