2014 & 2018
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.
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.
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,
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,
no longer matters
becomes intention, fulfillment,
Copyright, Rina Ferrarelli.