Tuesday Jun 25

MarciCalabrettaCancioBello2 Marci Calabretta Cancio-Bello is the author of Hour of the Ox, which won the 2015 AWP Donald Hall Prize for Poetry, and Last Train to the Midnight Market (2013), and has received poetry fellowships from Kundiman and the Knight Foundation, among others. Her work has appeared in Best New Poets 2015, Columbia: A Journal of Literature & Art, Los Angeles Review of Books Quarterly, Narrative, and more. She serves as co-founding editor for Print-Oriented Bastards and producer for The Working Poet Radio Show. Her website can be found here.

Origin / Adoption

My first mother placed inside my mouth
a thick tongue / a curled tongue
prone to quick rolling music
and bramble-berried consonants
I would never speak to her.
These days, on this other hemisphere
I twist my second mother’s words
from my tongue as I do
the fruit from my neighbor’s tree:
geu-rhim / cham-eh / / fig and yellow
melon arching over the sidewalk,
ripening into dark hills / deep sun.
These days, I peel this craving
already budded with discomfort,
recover utterances too long untouched,
as if I could know the correct
taste of each vowel / inflections
sweet on my fingers and chin.

On the Corner of Commodore and Main

Wait for me
where pollen
tongued bouquets
strew the sidewalk
as a ribboned child
makes way
for a bride,
tabebuia buds
brilliant as
a taxicab in rain,
my hair
like a river
of wood-grain,
all full of oak
and fishtail
plaits bound
down the spine.
Wrought iron
table beneath
your elbows,
the chair’s
curved back
holding you up,
your fingers
warmed by a fourth
cup of coffee,
in which you drown
What woman
could withhold
herself from you,
hair rusting in the sun?
Not even I,
woman shaped
like a braid,
who crushes petals
against wrist, neck,
back of the knee.
Yet it seems
I am always walking
this road
swollen with shade.
Time and asphalt
spend too long
unraveling, as if
I will never arrive
while you wait
and summer
betrays us both
into autumn.

Many-Faced Poem

It comes up
as thunderhead
ready to break
roiling dark &
comes up as
sunflower or
cornstalk budding
kernels of light
or comes up
earthy & sweet
as soil turned
by backhoe or
perhaps as dog
nosing its way
hard between us
at the hushed crack
& flash of storm
clearing its throat
for the first
fearsome word.