by Jennifer Martelli
My mother owned a cauldron so rusted, nothing could live in it.
Sometimes, I swore, I could feel the sharp tips of the orange crescent moon.
Back then, my favorite Beatle was George, best color, black, best day Wednesday.
I liked to be strange & I was. But that’s a lie. I’d just want & want.
And Grandma said: wanting wanting wanting wanting wanting.
Once, in the farms, I picked up a long willow stick & immediately
it transformed into a garter snake. Nixon was the President.
Even now, I question the symmetry of his name, the heart of cross.
In the golden church I sat tonight, I watched a sweet young girl itch—
delicious nod, her long arms like an ivory saint’s plate of eyes,
her crown of lit candles. I want to read illuminated mysteries:
I want to read about the female saints, the drunk ones, the wrecked & wasted.
Once, in the farms near my ranch house, I dug down to rutted earth for clay.
I could mold small figures with the soft gray mud, bake them hard in the sun.
JENNIFER MARTELLI is the author of My Tarantella (Bordighera Press, 2018), as well as the chapbook, After Bird (Grey Book Press, winner of the open reading, 2016). Her work has appeared or will appear in Verse Daily, The Sonora Review, Iron Horse Review (winner, Photo Finish contest), The Sycamore Review, Sugar House, Superstition Review, Thrush, and Tinderbox Poetry Journal. Her prose and artwork have been published in Five-2-One, The Baltimore Review, and Green Mountains Review. Jennifer Martelli has been nominated for Pushcart and Best of the Net Prizes and is the recipient of the Massachusetts Cultural Council Grant in Poetry. She is co-poetry editor for The Mom Egg Review.
Photo: “Doué-la-Fontaine (Maine-et-Loire)” by Daniel Jolivet