All is quiet…finally
after the two sisters quit re-living the day
and drift into hide-a-bed snoring.
Until 4 a.m. when the brother
rattles the unfamiliar bedroom door knob
and slices light into the hall
where he bangs the bathroom light switch on
and spotlights my room like the cops
cornering an escaped convict,
and he stands there
suddenly unsure where the toilet is
or emblazoned by super nova flash
off white porcelain
like I am by his skinny ass in the doorway.
Eventually he slams the door shut
as I flip the blanket over my eyes.
He flushes that late-night roar
of water down the drain,
fumbles across the hall
before releasing his lifeline
on the bathroom light,
and I dream of watching
my morning TV show
at just the right volume.
Diane Webster grew up in Eastern Oregon before she moved to Colorado. She enjoys drives in the mountains to view all the wildlife and scenery and takes amateur photographs. Writing poetry provides a creative outlet exciting in images and phrases Diane thrives in. Her work has appeared in “The Hurricane Review,” “Eunoia Review,” “Illya’s Honey,” and other literary magazines.
Let’s start with this coffee I just spilled,
stain spreading, steadfast as the walnut floorboards
that must still swell with moisture
in the room my family swarmed for dinner as a boy,
window shades filtering the adamant,
decaying sun of summer evenings.
I focus all attention on the earthy, robust smell,
that seems darker than the coffee,
and I refuse to recognize the way something dark,
and completely simple,
like this now half-cup of coffee, trembles,
then stills a second as I hold it,
and stare into it a long time,
until I am remembering that man¾
how heavy he was that morning
he dropped from the South Tower¾
and that house where I watched him on the television,
ten years old, with a certain sense, bewildering
and paralyzing as the takeoff of a plane is to a toddler.
And despite a looking back
that said goodbye before I could say anything,
and his deep breath, his wave,
he still turned carefully away, forever,
scrutinized the skyline, face tilted upward
as if supported by the feeble sunrays
girdering through the smoke,
and stepped off.
Like light he desired darkness.
Sometimes, when I try to imagine myself as that man,
I feel released for seconds,
and if that release persists, terrified.
And to be honest, as a child, I was terrified of everything:
clowns, bad grades, the filthy fingers of a family friend all over me.
But that other fear is different.
Even so, I thought I could forget that man
cascading through the chaos¾determined, free¾
and whether or not his fall was peaceful.
Bathed in the television’s tide of light, I sat,
a moth fixed to the flame of what it wanted,
and watched as the camera trembled,
going out of focus…
Then came a reporter, sweat glistening her forehead
as she talked, calm as habit,
the microphone shaking in her hands.
And all the youth I felt,
whatever left me in my nervous laugh,
did not return in the deep breath I drew in,
slowly, a second later,
the first breath of a young man.
And who knows where that boy went,
too numb to speak about what he thought
was only a someone’s cowardly surrender.
But maybe, after all, he’s here,
in this coffee stain on the carpet¾
its shape not a body flattened on concrete,
but only the random result of gravity,
a blind design whose silence and force
Domenic Scopa is a three-time Pushcart Prize nominee and the 2014 recipient of the Robert K. Johnson Poetry Prize and Garvin Tate Merit Scholarship. He holds an MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts. His poetry and translations have been featured in Poetry Quarterly, Reed Magazine, Borderlands: Texas Poetry Review, Reunion: The Dallas Review, Belleville Park Pages, and many others. He is currently an adjunct professor for the Changing Lives Through Literature program at the University of Massachusetts, Boston, and at New Hampshire Technical Institute. His first book, Walk-in Closet (Yellow Chair Press) is forthcoming in 2017. He currently reads manuscripts for Hunger Mountain and Ink Brush Publications.
Italians live with this very strong belief that the amount of hatred you feel towards your partner in a romantic relationship is equitable to the amount of love you have for them. This love/hate courtship shows itself as a couple fights in the town piazza, two actors performing for the crowd. There is no shame in public. She smacks him across the face for whatever wrong he did, or he’s screaming at her, an inch from her nose, vile insults are sprayed at each other, he grabs her arm a little too hard when she walks away, it’s all very beautiful to them. This same scene placed in an American coffee shop or mall would be a hideous sight for us. We keep these spectacles for our private homes and whisper the results to our best friend’s weeks later. But here in Italy, I imagine the onlookers thinking, “Che forte amore.” What strong love. “Ti amo o ti ammazzo”: it was a hit pop song on the top 40 countdown last summer in Florence, but it represents this concept that the Italians have been living with forever, probably. “I love you or I kill you”.