Lyric Sung in Third Person

Niki Herd

           Up the driveway                           into the house in one hand she carries                                                            the fish in its body bag of ice, the thickness                           of it curled into itself, in the other                                                                                                              she clutches                                           a handful of a woman’s name    say Daisy           say Scarlett petals          and yellow sassafras, she                                           cuts the bottom of each green stem                                                                                                                                   at an angle. Outside           the frame of the kitchen window                                           cicadas discuss the world while the sun                                                                                                                                 creeps away—                                                                                                                                                                How does she find                                                           the music to say today there has been no tragedy—                         The flowers are safe in their glass house                                                                                                                               necks upright                                                         then look                                                                         solitary hiker            black dot on a canvas                                                                                          an insect treks the expanse of the wooden floor                                                         hush hush thing           so confident       it moves                                                         away from harm—

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Niki Herd is the author of the poetry collection The Language of Shedding Skin and the chapbook don’t you weep, and she co-edited Laura Hershey: On the Life & Work of an American Master with Meg Day. Herd’s poetry, essays, and criticism appear in Gulf Coast, the Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Literature, New England Review, Copper Nickel, Academy of American Poets (Poem-a-Day), Lit Hub, The Rumpus, Obsidian, and Tupelo Quarterly, among other journals and anthologies. She has received fellowships from MacDowell, Ucross, Bread Loaf, the Newberry Library, and Cave Canem. Herd earned her PhD in Literature and Creative Writing at the University of Houston. She currently lives in St. Louis where she is the Visiting Writer in Residence in Poetry at Washington University. Her second full-length poetry collection, The Stuff of Hollywood, is forthcoming from Copper Canyon Press.

Winter/Spring 2023

Houston, Texas

University of Houston

Justin Jannise

Managing Editor
Paige Quiñones

Poetry Editors
Josh English
Devereux Fortuna
Nicholas Rattner

Begun by Donald Barthelme and Phillip Lopate, Gulf Coast is the nationally-distributed journal housed within the University of Houston’s English Department.

Gulf Coast is still student-run. We seek to promote and publish quality literature in our local and national communities while simultaneously teaching excellence in literary publishing to graduate and undergraduate students. While we are committed to providing a balanced combination of literary approaches and voices, all of the editorial positions are two-year terms, thus ensuring a regular turnover in the specific personality and style of the journal.

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