Saturday Jun 22

Macri-Poetry Angie Macri’s recent work appears or is forthcoming in Redivider, RHINO, and Third Coast, among other journals, and is included in Best New Poets 2010.  A recipient of an individual artist fellowship from the Arkansas Arts Council, she teaches in Little Rock.

I like to think my great-grandmother Lucrezia
cut the branch in February to root
until it was time to go, and then wrapped it in cloth
to hold with rosaries and lullabies.
She left Longobucco with her children
Pasquale and Filomena on the Manuel Calvo.
She broke clods in her fists and dug
the cutting into her backyard in Brooklyn,
remembering the wolf with the fig over the cave
where it nursed the twins of Rome.  My father
remembers his mouth full of fruit born
from scars and axils and little more.
Dame’s Rocket
She arrives in the water
that runs off our roof
in this hard rain.  The sound
boils up inside so that
I can feel it in her back
before I hear her laughing,
like grapes each laugh,
like bulbs of lung that send
air out and clench the new
with joy and comprehension.
In my arms, rain becomes
her universe rising into sense.
The dame’s rockets hum
sweet summer nights,
their petal claws and corollas
purple along rails and in thickets.
Brought here from Europe
long ago, this is their home now,
just like us, mothers and daughters
back to the first ones born
in bluebells of wilderness
and close rain that infuses all.
My cells’ energy is hers
and will be in her children, too,
an atlas to the past like chains
of ferns with fronds,
fiddleheads, and sori
underneath for the next of us.
He arrives in the water
where it breaks on the beach
marrying morning star
to his feet.
Shadows, wind, pearls, souls,
I tell him stories in waves
of words.  He holds close,
unsure in the face
of the giant sea.  Under
the names of sailors, soldiers,
saints from my grandfather’s world
of swordfish
and lamb, caciocavallo
and cuzzupe de Pasqua,
the flowers of zucchini,
how can my son
stand?  Less than one, he does,
sun on sand and azure
roaring, dolphins an arm’s
throw away.
He calls my hair water,
and he looks to where
the gulf swells, unwinding
from the sky.
Common Ivy
With ivy around the crib,
keep him close, and let him
breathe the married deep
embrace of tendrils that hide
bars, roots that spring
into soil in hums, branching
again in unforeseen angles.
Give him room to grow.
So you will wake, son,
inside the undersides of leaves,
wise and trusting, full
of the green light of old bottles
broken, buried, empty,
that glitter when brought back
to the surface.  You smell
of wet fox prints and embers.
Ivy never seems to die.
It climbs walls and lovestones
that build a strong house.
And although that is not
the home that we have,
I rise in the night when
you call.  I lift you,
dry you, take you
to my breasts.  You drain
each, mouth working
as rhythm’s wife, hands
kneading my skin.
Your open eyes wind
as green vines and coax
earth to flow, to please,
with trusting fingers.
To the East
Lilacs and dawn, lavender marvels,
grow to the east.  Such sweet height
comes from the past woman, who,
miles from town, put the roots
down, soaking them in a bucket
of water first, then feeding them lime.
One handful of that dust to sweeten
the soil, she patted the surface down
as smooth as ice on the pasture pond,
the wind’s waves her palm print lines.
Up from the pillow of stone,
peace is to the east before words.
The one-two-three of cardinals
marks a verse to the coda, unwed.
Winter’s cold has set the buds.
The lilacs stand, four petals
drawn in spires, limbs four times
my size.  Untended, the mauve
April faces of bees begin.