My husband shared his cigarettes with me + so when I die
I do with lungs like eggplants. My floral dress snapped at the waist because

               I have the finest shape in Massillon. Eyes like dandelions.

I’ve never been afraid of sugar. String bean cans in factories,
Paper cups of grocery wine. My mother so

                            Far away I sometimes lose her name.

At the factory my hands play the conveyor like a piano.
I game the clock,

Recite prayers. The best holiest mother we share a name.
Like her I have a favorite son. Tiny pink roses. Trees dripping unripe limes.

My math teacher said I am the best of my sisters.
              His hand covering mine on the quadratic solution.
Softening my mouth with the tip of a pink eraser.

              I never thought I’d have a daughter + I never did.

Bethlehem is not so far away my teacher said. He draws my hand across
              Navarre.

 

                                              I once drank too quickly from an aluminum can
The sugar crowded my mind + I woke on the kitchen floor

My son dropped to the tile. I had a bruise on my temple the women

At mass turned away from. I hit him with nothing, my son, I hit him with nothing.

When I get lost in the city my sister slaps me.
A cigarette rigid in her red mouth.

I forget the man she’s writing to
Some soldier

I am not as lost as my sister thinks I am
I soothed my son with unstoppered

              Cold medicine. I take a bus to church +
Pray for the tomatoes in the backyard. Mary is a friend of mine

I am the shaking city inside me, God I am the finally quiet son.
 
 

Emily Vizzo

EMILY VIZZO is a writer and educator. Her first book of poetry, Giantess, is available from YesYes Books, and her debut novel is represented by Frances Goldin Literary Agency in New York. She serves as Artist in Residence for the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis, and translates poetry from both Spanish and Italian.

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