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Since 1996 Volume XXI
2014 & 2018
Rina Ferrarelli
Rina Ferrarelli's work, poetry and translations, has appeared widely in journals and 
anthologies, and as been collected in 6 books, the latest, The Bread We Ate 
(Guernica, 2012), a collection of poetry, and Winter Fragments (Chelsea, 2006), 
a bilingual edition of translation. She was awarded an NEA and the Italo 
Calvino Prize.
House of Bone
in sympathy
with the shadowed one
the rain awakens
in the spring, water
so sweet  it feels
like sap, and the logs
in the walls, the planks
in the floor green
a little, swell,
warp and tilt,
wanting to loose
their bonds, to reach
for the light, break out
in leaf and song.
first published in Albatross. 

Rina Ferrarelli

An immigrant from Italy, Rina Ferrarelli has written many poems on  subjects having to do with emigration, and has also translated the work of Italian poets into English.  Her most recent collections are The Bread We Ate (Guernica), poetry, and Winter Fragments  (Chelsea), translation.  A new book, The Winter  Without Spring, is forthcoming from Main Street Rag.

        A Day of Rain       


The streetlight is burnt umber, dim

in the mist, the fog envelopping the scene.

He comes back in, brandishing

the green-wrapped paper, barely damp

in robe and hat, the walk,

under porch roof and mapleís canopy.


A finger underlines the words,

his lips moving. What does this mean?

he asks, unable to decipher

the headlinesí inevitable puns, yet

catching any bit of humor out of the air.


Quietly, I set the food on the table

pushed against the window,

trees and hills invisible in the bright

small room, the dark, unfathomable,

our reflections muted and flat, ghostly.




What now, what next?

he asks after every small event.  New

again, thanks to the upside of his downside,

the wooden puzzle of the US, the states

in bright colors.  He starts with Texas,

the biggest state, and goes on from there.


Much harder to unscramble, murky,

the mammoth on the table, shades

of white, gray and brown. We do it

together.  I put a few pieces in,

go out, come back. Put another

piece in, and another.

I talk aloud about the pattern,

the shapes and subtle clues.





metal-gray through the streaked windows.

I feel an enormous hand pressing me down,

my legs, like cement. 

                                  Pivoting from fridge

to counter,  Coke or root beer?  I ask at lunch. 


         forbidden, the word he hears. 




Rain, rain, rain

typing relentless against the panes

a history thatís lost as quickly as itís written.

Time rushing like water,

                           yet, as if it will never end.

An eight-hour day, and itís only two.


He doesnít want a nap. 

While he looks at the Marco Polo book,

I lie down on the couch,

                                          sink deep

into the cushions, close my eyes.

                    When he thinks Iím asleep,

he pulls at the front door,

                        he pulls at the back door. 

No exit.  For either of us.



I want to go home, he says, again

and again, pining for an eden

that could have been or never was.


And in the rain we get in the car

make bright tracks in the gray,

trying to ward off what evil is ahead,

work out a return

                 to the place of his dreams,

a sunny street we reach and not reach,

that, soon, 

                       no longer matters

as motion

becomes intention, fulfillment, 


© Copyright, Rina Ferrarelli.
All Rights Reserved.