A Book Arrives in the Mail
I'm sending a check.
I'm writing the history of gratitude
on the back where you'll write
“for deposit only”
in case a poor stranger finds it
should it slip from your hand,
cashes it in South Beach
where he'll skip down a neon street
arms held up to the sun
singing about theft and luck.
My check is only a portion of the payment,
there will be a festival: floats and Margaritas,
glittering costumes, fireworks
spelling your name around the moon;
accept the baby leopard-
give her a name worthy of a poem,
walk her on the beach at night;
the postman with first edition Nerudas
will ask you to sign, please do so
with those shooting stars in your little finger.
Earth Becomes Earth
Peter’s father buried what his family didn’t eat or smoke:
Coffee grounds, dead cigarettes.
We hid behind the compost
smoking stolen Chesterfields,
puffed away, talking like grown-ups,
making the faces of our fathers
in finger paint and stick figures.
Smoke fumed from our mouths
as we leaned against the mound of egg shells
crushed under peat moss and steak bones,
from which would grow
tomatoes and pumpkins
for sauce and Halloween.
He is the sum of an
of pencil lines,
condemned by a single word,
executed letter by letter
mute, stiff as a stick.
None have ever
drawn his mouth
unable to call for a T
to save his neck,
an A to stop the drop.
He can’t shout E
to avoid that F
which will murder him.
What was his crime?
Maybe he befriended
a garden snake
which told red delicious lies
while dangling from the branch
of a tree.
And so he’s eternally at the mercy
of children getting
the hang of letters
They don’t know the power
of connecting them, how they kill
letter by letter
making him live forever.
Let it Be
What if there is no answer?
Or worse, the woman consumed by light
whispers but no one is there.
Birds prosecute the apocalypse against the dead.
Though the last sonnet is uttered in defense,
the world has already ended.
Flesh smokes on the bones of those who waited
for something else to happen.
The soft woman in blue and white robes
hovers over the hopeful dead.
Other Lives and Silences
A Collaborative poem by Michael Hettich and Lenny DellaRocca
The woman in the painting above our bed
leans against a gate in her garden
sweetened with summer, while dark birds
swirl around her head. She's wearing a dress
the color of a beech tree a little boy climbed once,
too high, and disappeared into the man he is now.
I imagine myself that boy, peering from branches
as the woman looks out from beneath that tree,
and I imagine her calling out to me, as I lie here in my bed,
dreaming of other lives and silences.
Once when I walked from a dream into
the rooms of my house, wallpaper emblazoned
with chameleons and Florentine suns,
I seemed to lose myself in someone else’s memories
and move with another person’s body, until
I hurt things without meaning to, trying to caress
the delicate face of someone I used to know,
who is not here, not anymore, who sees what I cannot:
the secrets of my beating heart, the sadness in my eyes.
The woman in the painting heals me
with her far-away look, makes the very things
she sees, and makes the small birds cry.
Lenny DellaRocca has had poems in Poet Lore, Poetrybay, Albatross, 2River view, Fairy Tale Review, Chiron Review, Seattle Review, POEM, and Nimrod. His chapbook, The Sleep Talker, is available at Night Ballet Press. His latest collection, is Blood and Gypsies. DellaRocca is founder and co-publisher of South Florida Poetry Journal- SoFloPoJo- and Interview With a Poet both at southfloridapoetryjournal.com