Since 1996 Volume XXI
Maria Mazziotti Gillan is a recipient of
AWP’s 2014 George Garrett Award, Poets & Writers’ 2011
Barnes & Noble Writers for Writers Award, and the
2008 American Book Award. She is founder/executive director
of the Poetry Center at Passaic County Community College,
and director of creative writing/professor of English at
This morning, I
remembered the gun-metal clouds
that hovered over the Catskills when I drove 17 west.
could drown in their absence. Since you died,
I am wrapped in
gray wool, the world just a little muffled,
my eyes clouded over, myself not quite here. I try to wear
bright colors—the deep red of a silk blouse, the Asian
pattern of red and deep blue in the soft folds of my favorite
jacket, the red I am sure will ward off the evil eye.
So many of the
people I love are gone, the ones I believed
protected me from the malevolence that swirls around us.
I am certain if I wear these clothes this grief, too, will end,
and I will go on to find new color in the world, the flare
of tulips opening their lovely mouths, the yellow flags
forsythia waving and I in my red jacket that keeps
holes because I’ve worn it so much, hoping
my jacket will work its magic,
that if my students
write brilliant poems, the muffler
of gray wool
will fall away, and I will gather joy in my arms
the colors I love–deep red, blue, gold–will swirl
around me like a long velvet cape
that moves when I move, sings when I sing.
Maria Mazziotti Gillan.
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