By Nicole Stellon O'Donnell
Yesterday, I left a marginalia of fingerprints rendered in grease. Consider them a whorled map of my heart, for I was so drawn up in your character’s shame that I lost track of the crumpled napkin on my lap. Let’s, for a moment, imagine that we’re at the dinner party on page three hundred and twelve, and that I have raised my hand to my lips to be sure that no one overhears my earnest confession. After I speak, I’ll smile and look down, wringing the fine linen napkin in my lap. Forgive my intrusion. Take my confidence for what it is, reaching, pregnant with longing.
Nicole Stellon O’Donnell’s first collection, Steam Laundry, won the 2013 WILLA Literary Award for Poetry. Her second book, You Are No Longer in Trouble, a memoir-in-flash about being a teacher, a student, and a principal’s daughter, was published in March 2019 from the Marie Alexander Series. Her third book is Everything Never Comes Your Way (Boreal Books, 2020). Her poems have appeared in Prairie Schooner, Passages North, Bellingham Review, Beloit Poetry Journal, The Women’s Review of Books, Redivider, Zyzzyva, and other literary journals. Her essays and commentaries appeared in the Anchorage Daily News on the Alaska Public Radio Network. She received both an Individual Artist Award and an Artist Fellowship from the Rasmuson Foundation, as well as a Boochever Fellowship and an Alaska Literary Award from the Alaska Arts and Culture Foundation. In 2014, she served the winter writer-in-residence at Denali National Park. She spent the spring of 2016 in South India as a recipient of a Fulbright Distinguished Award in Teaching. She lives in Fairbanks, Alaska.