What could I say
What should I have said
And what did I say

Next time
I’ll chirp like a bird
Let a dove reclaim

From the detritus
Of a wanton confidence
So I might say

What I could say
What I should say
That said

I am polishing
My arpeggios just in case
We’d be better served

By silent music
The bird that words
Would only scare away

James B. Nicola

James B. Nicola is a returning contributor to The South Shore Review. His poems have also appeared in the Antioch, Southwest and Atlanta Reviews; Rattle; and Barrow Street. His seven full-length collections (2014-22) are Manhattan Plaza, Stage to Page, Wind in the Cave, Out of Nothing, Quickening, Fires of Heaven, and Turns & Twists. His nonfiction book Playing the Audience won a Choice award. His poetry has received a Dana Literary Award, two Willow Review awards, Storyteller's People's Choice award, one Best of Net nomination, and eight Pushcart noms—for which he feels both stunned and grateful.