M.J. Iuppa

Handling It

She holds the steaming coffee mug close to her thin chest,
and looks up through her feathery hair that sweeps across her
face, giving her pause before she speaks. She doesn’t want
to be too quick. She could spill a secret, without blinking
twice. She worries about the breaking news. The shopping cart
stranded on the frozen canal becomes a persistent question.
She keeps her mug filled to the brim with strong, black coffee,
and carries it, without ever setting it down. By evening, she’s
exhausted, and she can’t imagine why— switching hands to
hold a glass of white wine.

Part Seen, Part Imagined

Just above this sleepy town, a flat faced moon
shines upon snowy rooftops and slick sidewalks.
A skinny black cat cries from beneath a broken
porch. A back door bangs opens, letting a lap
dog out to howl at my shadow passing through
the yard’s picket fence. Still, I stand invisible in
front of the kitchen window’s honeyed light. I
see a woman peeling onions. She raises her hand
to wipe tears from her cheeks before they splash
upon the cutting board. She’s distant in this held
breath. I could touch her if I dared to knock on
her pane.

Enough is enough

Soon, the space ship will arrive. She knew to hurry
her way through the apartment, grabbing things
that wouldn’t be noticed for months on end, unless
he decided to pick up where he left off.The dusty
outline of something missing, like her side of the bed.
He traced her shape left in the sheets and felt stupid.
He didn’t ask her to stay, like the scent of her left on
his pillow. She left that morning, hurrying down two
flights to step into the cab’s backseat. She tapped her
phone’s contact screen. His face popped up. She hit

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. Most recently, she was awarded the New York State Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Adjunct Teaching, 2017. She has four full length poetry collections, This Thirst (Kelsay Books, 2017), Small Worlds Floating (2016) as well as Within Reach (2010) both from Cherry Grove Collections; Night Traveler (Foothills Publishing, 2003); and 5 chapbooks. She lives on a small farm in Hamlin NY.
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