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Since 1996 Volume XXI

Maria Mazziotti Gillan


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 Binghamton University-SUNY. 

Gray Clouds


This morning, I remembered the gun-metal clouds
that hovered over the Catskills when I drove 17 west.
I 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
of forsythia waving and I in my red jacket that keeps
sprouting holes because I’ve worn it so much, hoping


my jacket will work its magic, that if my students
will write brilliant poems, the muffler of gray wool
will fall away, and I will gather joy in my arms and all
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.



© Copyright, Maria Mazziotti Gillan.
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