John A. Nieves

A Five-Years-Late Note to Jake Adam York
October 18, 2019 Nieves John A.

A Five-Years-Late Note to Jake Adam York


In Chicago, where the light plows over the lake into convention
hall windows and gets shredded by sharpened fluorescents, an old
table draped in banquet blue sagged between us. I was thanking

you for having faith in my work, you were giving me gnomic strobes
of advice. The air had the kind of near-must of not-quite-nice hotel

lobbies. I had Martsch’s Gone on auto-repeat in my head. You said
something gorgeous about black ink on a white page and somehow
it got blended up in here the wayside meets the road. And I can’t

get it back with a thousand listens. You said to send some more
your way. That’s it. I walked off with all the letters that you wrote.

Someone else came up, also not knowing. It was 2012 and it was
the day after Leap Day and my partner was waiting for me
on the sidewalk to try a Cuban joint we read about online. And the name-

tags danced like they do in the winter when they are untucked. I waved
twice over the next few days passing you in crowds, both times a nod

and the song cried: when you’re wanted by the sun. And you were.
Then you weren’t and I put your words in hands that never held
them before and wish I could remember your quip, tell them this

one whole story among all the others grown lush around you.


John A. Nieves has poems forthcoming or recently published in journals such as: North American Review, Crazyhorse, Southern Review, Poet Lore and Copper Nickel. He won the Indiana Review Poetry Contest and his first book, Curio, won the Elixir Press Annual Poetry Award Judge’s Prize. He is associate professor of English at Salisbury University and an editor of The Shore Poetry. He received his M.A. from University of South Florida and his Ph.D. from the University of Missouri.