Nance Van Winckel



I was playing again on the stone stairs.

I could hear the hiss of seconds passing.

My mother sat as I’d left her,

among mothers, aiming a thread

through a needle’s eye. All was

as it should be. I shouted grave orders

to the dolls, my prisoners.

Clearly I was still afraid of my largeness,

my separateness, my long

horrible arms striking out.




Supplicants and prey. The hissing

sweeping hand. All was as it

ever is. I turned on a top stair.

Open the door, and the world’s silver wires

sizzle—long lit hallways with workers

hawking their nations’ wares.


A passing-by of shoes with gold buttons. So like

my own. I step over the threshold . . .

a hissing sweep of my gown.

I open my eyes. Trust now:

the body will know what I am

and what to do about it.


“Reentry” is from Nance Van Winckel’s  most recent collection of poetry, No Starling, published by University of Washington Press. She is the author of five books of poems and three books of short stories. A fourth book of stories will be released in 2013. Nance has created a new form she calls Pho-toems which combines photography and poetry. “I have not left poetry.  I’m just putting it on walls.”