duct duct duct   Contest:   duct
Home DUCTS.ORG Issue 12 | Winter 2003 the webzine of personal stories
subscribe submissions contributors back issues trumpet fiction contact us legal links
support ducts
art gallery
ducts stage
best of ducts

Poems by Maggie Berizzi

The Cruelty of the Bloody Season

Too Sick for This

First Blinks

A Common Preference

Sideyard Homeland



The Cruelty of the Bloody Season

It is the first Friday after my lifetime decided to rewind and my smile seems to have gone

on a starvation diet while my want to touch anything nice

hid under the carpet and got stepped on.


So I am running inside the Bloody Mary I am drinking in the autumn

with the leaves that are not falling for me.


Marys are for summertime and cider is for this season.

Maybe that's where I got it wrong,

maybe that's how I accidentally erased two seasons:

the red one with leaves that sail and the white one with deep footprints.


I did Bloody Marys at the wrong time and lost all the seasons.



I am too sick for breakfasts of fresh squeezed orange juice and vibrating kisses,

clarity's cancer is taking up room in my gut

lessening how much funny stuff

how much life

I can hold down for longer than it takes to come back up.


I caught what was not contagious

in a memory which floated between fuzzy airport exchanges:

a little boy tugged on the corner of his mother's shirt,

flapping against exhausted spandex.

He begged to be held,

for her hand to drop

into a believable grip around his.

Instead he was left at the intersection of her shirt corner and thigh,

wondering what she could be doing in the world up there

too busy to drop a hand.


Gloom reached me

from his five year old island

where he shrunk into a bad kind of big,

wobbly knees locking into something firmer.

Too early

for that kind of survival.

I knew it,

so it reached me like a magnet


mom's disinterest in my noodle necklace


mercury into my bones.

We shared it

for a moment

and I knew he would be sick

for a long time.


First Blinks

Dried juice,

sticky around the bottle top,

were my eyes

when I made my flight into your bedroom's

citric air.


A Common Preference

I got naked inside the spirit of Marilyn Monroe and then in the living ghost of Madonna.

It just felt right on top of that night. I even let my fist unclench,

let my breath burst a little.


Later, I made something like love to a man who was carrying his widow

on the rims of his glasses.

He was as shy as a rowboat on a whistling river.


Love that way was nothing like the blondes,

nothing like the ghosts.


Sideyard Homeland

Somewhere there is a pickup truck

sinking into a sideyard,

rust along its mirrors

like the dirt under Daddy's nails and sinking like Mama's thighs

into the plastic lawn chair playing the piano on her fanny.


The homeland is the sideyard:

plastic swings and metal hubcaps,


for the land on the side of the yard

where people are pickup trucks

left standing in the dirt.

Return to Poetry