M.J. Iuppa

The Catch

Take a number and sit down on the wooden bench until
you are called.
This isn’t a bakery, but a clinic of secrets.
No one looks at anyone, wishing the light wasn’t so lemony
bright; wishing the toddlers in tow wouldn’t wind themselves
up in the curtains of exam stalls. Knee-jiggling nerves, messy
hair twisted into a top knot, she sits next to a man who is as
thin as she. He flirts. She uh-huhs. They smile a little. Both of
them hold their white ticket stubs out in the open. What’s your
number? Wanna go out, once we’re better?

A Facial Mask Can Set You Free From Misery

She complained it was highway robbery, going to the hot springs
spa for a day with her friend whose arms were short & pockets
deep; who made her feel guilty about her ‘perfect’ life that she
acted silly drunk in her company. Having fun? She cooed
demurely, after smearing warm mud on her face; paying close
attention to her T-zone. You know today is the longest day of
the year and we’re finally spending it together.
Her friend held
her wine glass up for a refill. Yes, it is, and I know how I would
miss it completely without you.


Winning depends upon the kind of chaw that’s chewed up & spit
out over the chain-link fence onto the artificial turf. He’s big, this
man called Coach. He has eaten his weight by the third inning.
A group of boys stand in a loose circle near him, stealing side-
-long glances at his tongue’s skill of splitting sunflower seeds into
halves, while he summarizes player deficits. No clean-up hitter.
They all nod. A ball knocks foul over heads; a young boy catches
it on the ground. Coach looks at the beaming boy holding the ball
up and spits: spoiled brat.

M.J. Iuppa is the Director of the Visual and Performing Arts Minor Program and Lecturer in Creative Writing at St. John Fisher College; and since 2000 to present, is a part time lecturer in Creative Writing at The College at Brockport. Since 1986, she has been a teaching artist, working with students, K-12, in Rochester, NY, and surrounding area. She has three full length poetry collections, most recently Small Worlds Floating as well as Within Reach, both from Cherry Grove Collections; Night Traveler (Foothills Publishing); and 5 chapbooks. She lives on a small farm in Hamlin NY.
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