person Anna Scotti, two poems

Anna Scotti’s work appears occasionally in The New Yorker and other literary magazines. She was awarded the Mark Fischer Poetry Prize last year, and has also received the Pocataligo Poetry Prize, the AROHO Prize for short fiction, and other honors. Please visit http://www.annakscotti for more.

~The following poems originally appeared in The Comstock Review.~

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TWELVE

So, there you are, cross-legged, patient fingers
working tangles from the silky plume of the dog’s tail,
mouth set in a stern love line exactly
like my grandmother’s. You’ve already learned that love
is mostly duty: gathering worms after every rainfall, laying
countless broken birds to rest in tissued boxes,
grim as any village preacher. You’ve dirt-
rimmed nails, scabbed knees – yet the new teacher’s
eyes can’t quite meet mine. Don’t let all that beauty
confuse you: there will be a boy who does not
love you, then a man. And someday, a child,
willful as a windborne spirit, slamming doors
and windows, raging like a storm at sea – raging,
but so far from you! – then curled in a sullen circle
of music, friends, secrets that exclude you.
And I’ll be a photograph on the dresser,
a folded note beneath a stack of silken scarves–
maybe this note. So, listen, now, your mother is speaking:
Don’t flinch in the face of all that angry beauty; breathe.
Know what it is to have love enough to squander.

*first published in The Comstock Review, volume 25

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AROUND THE WORLD IN FORTY YEARS

All my life you were waiting:
a boy too old for me, of course, smoking and spitting curses
against the bare shop floor, working graveyard
to get the bread together to sail around the world

It all changed meaning, then: around the world, bread, even
graveyard, eventually. First a metaphor for midnight, then
a place to spread a blanket on the grass. Finally, a barren field
sown only with regretful bones.

Even with another mouth hard against my own,
I felt you waiting: a man born sad, who then grew sadder,
a man left behind when he meant to be leaving,
still standing on the deck of neat boat manned
by tiny ghosts, a boat I think was named
for me:  The Sweet Kate, I guess, or Dance Calypso.
Maybe Summertime.

*first published in The Comstock Review, volume 25

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