The 2River View 17.1 (Fall 2012)

James B. Nicola

The Uses of Spite

We take the spring for granted.

My uncle was so truculent
he eked out another twenty-five years
beyond his date with cancer
in spite of the pain.
He refused to miss a minute of the party
until the party, from kindness, let him go.
In his case, I would say, the spite was good.

One spring, it will be us.
And which of us will be awake to see
the sense in eking a century
and spit at imminent ends and say:

Another spring (o god), another tick.
The bluebird’s gone. He’s staying south.
The laurels have surprised us by not blooming this year, here,
And the croaks of frogs are getting softer, softer. . . ?

O World, be like my uncle. Be truculent! Stay!

James B. Nicola has published in journals such as Cortland Review and Tar River. His book about the theater, Playing the Audience, won a CHOICE Award, and he has also won the Dana Literary Award for poetry. contact