Blood Moon

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Tried to see it from the soccer field
At the school some want torn down—
no way to rehab it,
poor drainage, asbestos lurking in walls,
wrapped around pipes, Eisenhower-era
construction, additions tacked on when
children cropped up everywhere.

It’s chilly for September, the moon
a bright white orb. No competition from stars.
A sliver of shadow appears at the moon’s side,
creeps across.
It’s not happening fast enough for us.
We want to see the pink moon, the blood moon—

Huddled in this playground, we wonder
why no one else is here. Are they watching
the blood moon on their televisions,
getting a clearer, sharper, super-pink image?
I pull my sweater tighter around me.
The shadow across the moon moves—

Now the moon turns salmon pink
smaller than the white moon.
Out on the grass this night
we six— a tight knot— suck in cold air.
Not another blood moon for years.
Will we be alive then, will we care enough to step
outside wherever we live then,
tilt our heads back, marvel at the sky?

 

~Lynne Viti

Reprinted from Spring 2016 issue BlazeVOX

Ghazal

Ghazal

Could I go back there, could I return today?
By happy accident of physics, fly there today?

Transport myself back to those pale rooms,
Those hallways full of laughing girls, today?

We leaned in doorways, in late afternoons,
Confided secrets, triumphs, as we might today.

Our hair was gold, chestnut, or raven, catching light
From sunlight’s slant through windows, like today,

Though stronger rays, intense, in memory’s eye.
We sang in empty classrooms, looking towards today.

Who were we then? And are we still the same—
Though life has marred and marked us all deeply—today?

Thread the way back through long tunnel of years,
With young girls’ eyes see who we are today.

Make time collapse, forgive the petty sins and slurs,
The slights and cuts, back then and today?

Recall when all was bright before us, all was fresh,
Vows not yet made or kept or broken, as today.

Could memories of youth –not specters of old age,
New disappointments—infuse our hours here, today?

~Lynne Viti

Reprinted from Blaze Vox, Spring 2016

Pâtissière

for Christine V.

The December you made a poundcake
your mother’s fat cookbooks were stacked
all over the white kitchen.
The cupboards were so high you had
to stand on a wobbly stepladder.
I steadied it as you pulled down
the old china from Sauveterre.
It was painted with tiny roses and vines.
Plates just large enough for a fat slice
of buttery cake, dotted
with gold raisins and crushed pecans.

You couldn’t have been more than fifteen.
That winter you made your way through
Craig Claiborne, James Beard, Julia Child.
I’d see you
chin resting in  an open hand, one elbow
on the white table, the other
flipping through stained pages.

That egg yolk yellow cake was just
The  moister side of dry
but not dry, so solid
I made a meal of it. Have another,
you said, slicing through the thin brown top
into the golden mass of cake.
a pound of butter, you told me, a pound of flour,
a pound of extra fine sugar.
It’s  a recipe that’s
almost not a recipe at all.

You went off to college,  immersed
yourself in semiotics, found
a boyfriend, then later,
a husband, a divorce, then
a business partner, then two. You got
a love, a child, a flat that made its way
into the Times Home section.

There have been awards all these years
but not for cakes. There have been
honors, attestations, prizes. You’re famous,
on panels, on juries, you’re in Wikipedia!

Has there been no poundcake? No chipped china
from your grandmere? No recipe that’s
not a recipe at all?

You wore small tortoise shell glasses. Your hair
needed a good cut. You wiped
your buttery hands on your flannel shirt
and scraped the last bit of batter from the bowl.
You licked your fingers, wrapped
dish towels around your hands,
Slid the cast-iron pan into the oven.

Come back in two hours, you told me,
we’ll have cake for dinner tonight.

 

~Lynne Viti

 

This poem was awarded an Honorable Mention in the 2015 Allen Ginsberg Poetry Contest, and appears in the 2015-2016 Paterson Review.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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For Mother’s Day….”My Mother on My Cousin’s Wedding Day”

My Mother on My Cousin’s Wedding Day

Children weren’t invited.  I said that
Wasn’t fair, I wasn’t a child. I was thirteen,
had never seen a wedding, except on television.
She opened a flat box of stockings,
Pulled them on gently, fastened them to her girdle.
I watched  her pull the beige lace dress over her head
shake it down her slender frame, gently push
her  arms through the sleeves.
I zipped the dress closed.

I climbed onto her bed, mesmerized by the lace sheath.
Paid full price too.  Coral high heeled pumps,
Matching clutch bag, sparkling costume jewelry.
She leaned towards the mirror to put on her  lipstick,
coral, like the shoes. From a box she
Withdrew a hat, broad brimmed in the front
Ivory chiffon covered with tulle.

My father waited downstairs in his favorite chair
trying not to sweat in the August heat.
I followed them out the front door, sat
on the porch steps,the concrete hot on my thighs.
The green and white fins of our Chevy disappeared
down the street. She was forty-five. I knew
she’d be the prettiest, best dressed lady there.

She wore the lace dress again, over and over
With the coral shoes. But the hat
Stayed in back of the closet for years
Till one day the square box went to Goodwill.
Nobody wears hats any more, she said.