M.J. Iuppa

Far From Home

They sit uneasy in the college hall, side by side, elbows
& knees practically touching, but not touching. Some
stare at nothing, and think of their phones that are turned
off. Some stare ahead, waiting for this ukulele concert,
which hasn’t even begun, to be over, so they can check
their phones. It’s the dead silence that gets me; then the
catchy dry coughs pepper the rows like birdshot, spraying
right up to the toes of the musicians who, one by one, clear
their throats. A-hem, he says, into the microphone. And, they
look up, as if they had lost something.

The Memory House

Sitting in the sunroom, in a wicker chair with floral cushions, she
watches the soft swirl of snow filling up the woods called forever
wild. She sees children climbing over fallen logs, with their golden
bounding ahead, then back, barking big clouds of hurry up that makes
them pick up their steps, their black boots, red caps and scarves, flap-
ping; coats unzipping into wide wings, ready to fly—to fly into that
corridor between pines, into that blind spot of what matters when every-
thing is happening, and few see it as she does, every day before the
alarm rings.

Mask of Loveliness

Seeing her morning face in the cracked mirror scrubbed
clean and patted dry, she stares at her thin eyebrows, high
cheekbones. She picks up a dark brown pencil and fills in
the shadows, making her full lips part a bit, wanting a deeper
blue for her downturned eyes—a small red hand sketched
over her mouth, keeping her sex speechless. Yet, no one
notices. The sun happens to be shining in through the grimy
windows. She thinks filthy French words, wishing she had
a camera, or company, or something beyond this sublime
boredom. She suffocates her yawn. No more questions.

After, Ever

Lately, she feels her body is a cardboard cutout, and she must
carry this flimsy image everywhere with her, without complaint,
because it belongs to her. Yet, while doing errands in town, she
forgets that this cutout is standing next to her and everyone is
engaged in a lively conversation with the cutout and not her. Did
you enjoy your holidays?
They ask cheerfully, and her silhouette
stares blankly, looking beyond the exchange of money; and she,
who can speak candidly, answers, Yes, perfect, and you? And they
pause before counting back the change. Ah, yes—so glad it’s over.

M.J. Iuppa's fourth poetry collection is This Thirst (Kelsay Books, 2017). For the past 30 years she has lived on a small farm near the shores of Lake Ontario. Check out her blog: mjiuppa.blogspot.com for her musings on writing, sustainability & life’s stew.
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