Through my window, I see the penumbra now: a sliver of ash, painful as the blade of my
mezzaluna. The street shines sticky with spilled soda, melted candy. The lid
of the sewer, half off, balances on the lip. From the bottom, the whole night sky
would seem to be the crescent and with a shove back in place, the anteumbra,
a pale eye looking down. I caused this: chopping the mint, the oregano. And after meat,
I bleach the oak cutting board for the blood.
When I do believe in God, I think God is simply the curve
of my mezzaluna and I rock back and forth, seeing how far over I can go--what I mean is
God is the middle moon. But then soon after, I don’t even believe that. By morning,
the street will be bone dried by the sunlight perfectly aligned between the grid made
of houses: the effect of Stonehenge. My cutting board will be dried too, and safe
on a flour sack. For the dolly I made during the eclipse, I used two blue sequins
from an old costume for your myopic blue eyes. You hair, red lint from the angora
holiday sweater I borrowed and never returned. I’ll draw the mole above your lips
with a Sharpie. An old sock for your body. No arms. No legs.
The stone keeps my mezzaluna keen in the way the salt-
filled strawberry hanging from the tomato pin cushion hones my needles and pins
when I push them in and out.
The land curves cracked and brown as an old urn.
One flat-topped squat tree still grows stubbornly.
The tree is high enough for the young girl
to dangle from a noose. She could be a wooden wind chime
if there were a breeze, she's that thin and hollow.
Hungry, she had confused food for love and approached the king:
He threw hes shoe at her face. Her dog stays with her.
Under her bare feet, he crouches, maybe hoping for shade.
maybe confusing hunger for loyalty. No one will ever know
her name, but the dog
will be strung with stars in the summer sky
"Jennifer Martelli's tightly focused poems invite us into an imperfect world defined by her rich personal history. This is a place she knows well, one that is continually reinvented by the people who are its fabric. Once within these walls we find that the struggle is real and the poet who guides us (with her frailty and her honesty) is above all else a wise observer." ~ Kevin Carey, The One Fifteen to Penn Station and Jesus Was a Homeboy.
"These poems by Jennifer Martelli are full of arrows and God, love, loss and desire. So much heartache in one collection ought to be against the law. Or it should be the law. No book has moved me this deeply in a very long time. Her voice is honest and clear, and her vision is unflinching. This is what poetry should be, this brutal beauty." —Crystal Bacon, Elegy with a Glass of Whiskey