Alfred Nicol


Emily Dickinson

Radiant wallflower
Emily Dickinson
Never subscribed to a
Movement or school,

Nor was her verse of the
Garden variety;
Categorize her as
Nobody’s fool.

Hugo Licked Me

  Waterfront Promenade Park

(with apologies to Leigh Hunt)

Hugo licked me when we met,
tugging at the leash that held him.
That’s a breach of etiquette
I’ve encountered only seldom.
Portside pets are so well bred
(No one here will contradict me)
owners follow where they’re led—
Hugo licked me

Alfred Nicol’s most recent collection of poetry, Animal Psalms, was published in 2016 by Able Muse Press. He has published two other collections, Elegy for Everyone (2009), and Winter Light, which received the 2004 Richard Wilbur Award. His poems have appeared in Poetry, The New England Review, Dark Horse, First Things, Commonweal, The Formalist, The Hopkins Review, and elsewhere. Nicol’s poem “Addendum” was included in the 2018 edition of The Best American Poetry. Please visit his website at