Walking on Mirrors

Nicole Rivera


Your mother left
flowers on the table, drove off
in a u-haul. What old affection
dies–she didn’t miss
you. There is white
noise between this side
and that. One building, one
house, one travel.

Your letters never read
dear mother, are you enjoying
the great distance? The words
were petals of a fake rose, I miss you,
conditional, frail. Who was better
at telling a lie? Your mirror, your mother,
the table’s leftovers.

The thorned stem cripples
across the street, one last reach
for petals. The frosted
ground spreads like cracked
ice, your hands ash numb. You look
down, think about the incisions,
how do roots grow
through tiny slithers
of space, erase blankness in the ground?

What a great distance
for you to travel, no mom, no hands
to hold or help you
cross. Look both ways! Don’t trip
and fall. There is nothing beautiful
about a mind of winter, the deserted,
twisted ground, your resemblance to her.



Nicole Rivera is a New York native, born and raised on the Lower East Side– now known as ‘The East Village’. Born into a multicultural family with indigenous roots, Nicole has struggled to find spaces for people of color, specifically mestizas, where she feels a sense of belonging. Most of her writing grapples with family dynamics and how identity informs interpersonal relationships. She studied Creative Writing in Hunter College before moving onto obtain her Master’s in Secondary Education. She now teaches at a transfer high school in the Bronx, spreading her love for writing to any young person she encounters.