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Sunday, October 10, 2021


by Maria Lisella

The call came
A three-story roof,
not a big building
serious enough
to break bones.
A day later,
another call comes.
A room
at Jacobi.
I plan.
He drives.
I’m the passenger.
She’ll be there, you know.
I know, I hear myself say,
the mother is always there.
I hate
the stereotype, but it fits.
The mother takes him back.
He doesn’t get better.
He never leaves except
this way.
The cycle—failure,
salvation, failure,
a passive remote control.
Patched up.
Lateral moves
ward to ward.
Suicide watch.
From the parameter,
I watch.
not blood
not natural.
Despair respects no borders
legal, illegal.
You love what you touch,
love more what touches you.

Maria Lisella is the recipient of a Poet Laureate Fellowship from the American Academy of Poets and the author of Thieves in the Family (NYQ Books), Amore on Hope Street (Finishing Line Press) and Two Naked Feet (Poets Wear Prada). She co-curates the Italian American Writers Association readings and is a travel writer by trade.