Daniel A. Nicholls

the fountain god

Daniel A. Nicholls

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atop the fountain stands a man
water gurgling from his mouth
and out over the palms of his enlotioned hands:

his suit is soaked, his briefcase filling
his Italian shoes squish as he shuffles feet
atop an ancient marble table running
round all sides of dry Poseidon
his fork and dolphin and jars pocked over
by neglect and long-dead moss;

the man, his eyes are clear but wide
he paces and, picking past mute nereids, stands
filling the fountain, looking back up the promenade
to where his trail began—one step dry as a businessman
the next struck quick by a plague of welling

those first wet steps in curlicues and splashes
and then the beeline to where now he stands
and sometimes shivers, sometimes checks his watch
sometimes drags a gushing hand over his head
loosens the yellow silk tie and looks down
around at the grass that butts up
through the unmortared brick path
into a mock hedge against the splash-darkened fountain rim

Poseidon, half in shape, lacks pupils in his severe eyes
and points aside to no place at all;
kelp clads his loins

the fountain man’s eyes sink to the ground
as he sits next to the old god
he lowers his hand into the cool and now rejuvenating pool
making the marble shine like old, old times
bringing the dark grain to the surface again
and wondering how long it is till the sea god drowns.


Daniel A. Nicholls


Daniel A. Nicholls can be found declaiming poets and poetry on Twitter and Tumblr. He has poems online at Open Letters Monthly, Compose Journal, Specter Magazine, and Halfway Down the Stairs. From 2010 until 2012, he was Writer in Residence at The Starving Artist in Keene, NH. He now resides in Arizona.