Cover Photo: A starry illustration of a woman looking up into the cosmos, nude, stripes from window blinds stretched across her body and into the universe.
Illustration by Sirin Thada for Catapult

First Nude

How to put this: I’m alive.

Shira Erlichman — FIRST NUDE

out of breast-spill and squashed butternut sun. It’s almost-night, a nipple definites the sheets. How to put this: I’m alive. So I gift my coming coffin coffee beans and sex—not with anyone, just the lens. Purr, nether engine, private as spit. No need to pray. The Buddha’s breath touches even this: warm undervoice twixt the thighs. You could say beehive misbehaving, or just pussy will do. Wet lens. Legs spread. Lord, there’s nothing you would say to steal me from me. Moon moves across collarbone. Find me in a black room, same hour that loved Jesus.

Shira Erlichman is a poet, musician, and visual artist. She was born in Israel and immigrated to the US when she was six. Her poems explore recovery—of language, of home, of mind—and value the "scattered wholeness" of healing. She earned her BA at Hampshire College and has been awarded the James Merrill Fellowship by the Vermont Studio Center, the Visions of Wellbeing Focus Fellowship at AIR Serenbe, and a residency from the Millay Colony. Her debut poetry book is Odes to Lithium. She is also the author and illustrator of Be/Hold. She lives in Brooklyn where she teaches writing and creates.