Pear Candle, Half-Spent

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Wax like burnt sugar

It’s a round pregnant belly with

white mold-like coating,

a scoop dug out of

the heavy  bottom,

a thread of black umbilical cord

protruding—

it  sits on a

saucer of Portuguese crockery.

~Lynne Viti

Reprinted from Punting, Origami Poems Project, January 2018. Download the chapbook and assemble it!

Leukapheresis

I wrote this last winter, when our dear friend was undergoing yet another cancer treatment. He had done well after a stem cell transplant procedure, but a year later the cancer returned. The poem was my way of expressing my helplessness, and the waiting to hear news of how he was faring with this treatment, which I knew very little about until I did some research into it.

 

Leukapheresis

                                           For DF

There’s a dispute in your blood,

Red cells against the white.

You’re in no shape to talk.

We’re playing your music,

it fills the living room.

You’re having another procedure—

it spills out unpronounceable names.

They’re taking the white from your blood.

Let them.

Leucocytes, they’re taking you into custody,

so the capillaries can do their job, submit

to collection, centrifugation, spinning.

The basophils (Greek, basis, philein, to love),

the polymorphonuclear leukocytes,

those feisty granular immune cells,

the eosinophils, who so love eosins, the acid dyes,

that they embrace their stain, must be silent.

The rest of us, here at home this February day

do what we can. We wait,

wait, from Old French, guaiter,

wait and watch over.

~Lynne Viti

Originally published in Punting, Origami Poems Project,  Copyright 2018

 

 

In Your Absence I Am Wearing Your Hat

And a pair of old shorts I found

in your closet, threads dangling from

the disintegrating khaki fabric.

I sleep on my back at night, careful not

to disturb the pillow on your side of the bed.

In the morning I’m unpracticed at making coffee,

Stumbling through the task, forgetting the filter,

or remembering the filter, forgetting the filter basket.

Your hat, the one you bought for hiking hills in Sicily,

fits me perfectly. I look like

an Australian crocodile wrassler,

or maybe the Marlboro man, though

your hat has a chin strap and a toggle.

Vents above the brim let in the sweet morning air.

Your hat smells like you, the sweatband

Exudes the scent of your soap and your shaving cream.

When you come back I’ll happily surrender the hat,

Strands of my hair stuck fast to its woven fibers.

 

–Lynne Viti

originally published  in January 2017, in Punting, Origami Poems Project

 

 

The Summer People in Winter

Near Uncle Tim’s bridge stands
a dwarf tree with twisted branches, tiny
White blossoms just about to fall—
White sand, shells of horseshoe crabs, not as many
As in years past. Matted salt hay, soft underfoot.
Across the marsh, the old fish cannery-turned-
Yoga studio next to the fish shack, the parking lot empty,
Freshly paved with crushed oyster shells,
White, pristine, waiting for the summer people.

In winter they stay in their houses, reading the paper.
Some sit at the piano, pluck out a few tunes.
Others write letters to the editor, refusing to use
email, preferring paper, envelope, self-adhesive stamps.
They walk their letters to the mailbox,
Wait for the metal clank as their missives disappear
Into the blue container. Pickup, 4 PM.

The summer people in winter wear
Their good coats to the opera. They don
Their special sports gear for the hockey arena.
They go to work early, they’re the last to leave the office.
They stand for O Say Can You See and O Canada.
They lug their groceries in reusable bags. They
Watch the calendar, dreaming of the marsh,
The kettle ponds’ clear water, the warm waves
Late August afternoons, on the bay beach,
White sand near the rock jetty, a fat orange sun
Slow dancing towards the horizon.

~Lynne Viti

Originally published  as a Poem of the Moment, on the Mass. Poetry website, December 2017, http://www.masspoetry.org/poemofthemoment7/

Ice Melt, Cat Litter, and Crampons —No Uggs

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Exactly one week ago, our town on the south shore of Boston saw over a foot of snow. Up and down our suburban road, snowblowers hummed and neighbors commiserated with each other, bundled up in parkas and wearing their perennial L.L. Bean boots.  Flights all over the east coast were canceled, and Logan Airport was no exception.  Schools were closed. The temperatures stayed low, and  by  last Sunday, the high at 6 am was 9F, the low in some areas, -2.

But only a few days later, the temperatures began to climb, and  yesterday, when the temperature rose to 48F, the great melting was in full force. Uggs boots were impractical—warm but impractical in the puddles that flooded the streets and sidewalks. Drive time after work was a mess, with many back roads blocked off by police vehicles, blue lights flashing. Detours wended miles out of our usual routes.

Dinner was delayed, too, even though we were only reheating leftover chili and throwing together an express salad. That, in turn, delayed our January semester-break Netflix viewing schedule—The Crown, Season 2—and left less time for evening reading: The Year of the Runaways (my spouse) and Manhattan Beach (me).

This morning, the melting continues. The thermometer registers 55F.   Global warming in all its messy, wet, inconvenient glory.

The forecast calls for a high of 25F tomorrow.  The melting snow will soon freeze into ice—a firm crust on the snowdrifts. black ice on asphalt driveways and streets. Dogwalkers will attach crampons to their boots, and homeowners will scatter ice melt on their steps and walks.

In October of last year, EPA head Scott Pruitt announced his proposal to repeal the Clean Power Plant policy. Such a reversal of environmental policy would mean more coal burning, and more manmade climate change.   The EPA will accept public comment on the EPA’s proposal, through April of this year, so if you’re as mad as hell, you might want to weigh in.

As for me, I’m off to check for leaks in the garage and basement.

 

 

“I’m as mad as hell…”  Peter Finch, in Network ( 1976)

 

 

 

 

 

How to Download My Microchapbook, “Punting” — from the Origami Poems Project

clothesline poems clipped
My origami poetry chapbook,
Punting,”  is ready to download (free) & fold –6 poems.
use paper color of your choice and follow the folding instructions!