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The Difference Is by James B. Nicola

Updated: Sep 8, 2023

When you limp, or walk with a tattered sole on one shoe, or proceed in this wide world uneven due to some war wound or pain, your gait beats like an old-time wind-up clock ever winding down. Should you spot a C-note, go buy yourself a pair of shoes. With better luck and wealth, get that dang war wound fixed and limp no longer. Now you count your steps and days in luxury with a pedometer or app on a palm-pixeled panel; years,

with strange diseases whose names you can't mouth.

At least, old verbs like limp and nouns like gout needed but four letters, one syllable.

The difference is only difference; all broken bones and hearts heal in the end.


James B. Nicola’s poems have appeared in the Antioch, Southwest and Atlanta Reviews; Rattle; and Barrow Street. His full-length collections (2014-2023) are Manhattan Plaza, Stage to Page, Wind in the Cave, Out of Nothing: Poems of Art and Artists, Quickening: Poems from Before and Beyond, Fires of Heaven: Poems of Faith and Sense, Turns & Twists, and Natural Tendencies (just out). His nonfiction book Playing the Audience won a Choice award. He has received a Dana Literary Award, two Willow Review awards, Storyteller's People's Choice award, one Best of Net, one Rhysling, and ten Pushcart nominations—for which he feels both stunned and grateful. A graduate of Yale, he hosts the Hell's Kitchen International Writers' Round Table at his library branch in Manhattan: walk-ins welcome., LinkedIn, Facebook.


White Shoes - besphrenz


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