I do not want her to be alone
when her limb is being cut,
so I shadow nearby.
With his scarlet saw,
he begins his cut.
There is no joyous end—
one that grows with you,
then releases, not
like birthing a baby,
like grown children
A tree screams
when the cut is made,
birds hear it, other
sycamores hear it—
I hear it.
The arborist puts on
to help her heal—
to stop / her breath
from spilling out—
but not mine.
I know the cure for everything:
Salt water…in one form or another:
Sweat, tears or the sea. –Isak Dinesen
I am a pierced crazy quilt.
I am salty sparrow bones.
I am sable silence,
the blackest car in the parking lot.
I am weary past relief.
I am jailed
by the open countryside.
I hear the Mojave bird-singer
break the bars for me.
I am hungry.
You see oddity, yet I am fresh apples.
I am curved, colorful, courageous.
I am of you.
We came through the same passage.
Take part. Rejoice me. Reflect me.
I have known you since the beginning.
If I could, I would buy you the sky, horizon, the breeze.
I share my salt with you.
Evelyn Ann Romano
Outside my kitchen window
a gallery of faces, red,
unprotected, invite me
to join them.
Actually, they taunt me:
we are not you, perhaps we are
better. Weather has been sunless
a little rain, they bloom
Twenty year old hibiscus, half
bent from birth, startling
Published in Florida State Poets Association Anthology 2015.
Published in Palm Prints, Lifelong Writers at USF literary Journal.
Remains of peacock feathers
Lay among the shrouds
Finely carved sleighs crushed into
fragments were found
In the recesses of the ship’s frame
painted in delicate blood-red strokes
Decorative nails of tinned iron and brass
Embellish the ship’s enduring frame
Tent pegs and large combs to groom the queen’s horses’ manes
Were found in the burial chamber
Strewn among the lids of jeweled boxes were locks made of horn or whale baleen,
forgotten beside a small bucket made of yew wood
Another bucket containing quartered wild apples
spilled into the water-logged hull
The dead needed food and drink for the long journey to the grave
One chest was found full of grain piled in a hollowed trough along with
Honey, blueberries and herbs — their daily diet
Buckets and dippers were found in the hold for churning milk and pouring cream
Ships for the departed were supplied with oars, a gangplank,
and more cooking utensils
Although the sail was missing, part of the rigger was found
Made of linden fibers
Finely twisted leather strips
Held the tops of the rudder firmly in place
* * * *
In the fading northern light of a winter afternoon
I watch over the frozen fields near Frogerkilen
The bay in the inner Oslofjord east of the Bygdoy peninsula
Fills with families skirting the woods that now fill with snow
A woman in a blue and white headscarf takes a seat beside me
on the bus headed into town
These white winter memories, like the daylight, begin to recede:
Lunch of waffles with berries and cream in the Maritime Museum
A signboard for Kongsgarden leads me towards a sloping park where I see
Dogs, prams, and families pulling sleighs up and down the weighted hills
Crossing and crisscrossing banks of piling snow
My bus turns and pulls away
from all that remains and all that consumes
Life upon eternal life
The Viking Museum, Oslo,
The Oseberg ship s a well-preserved Viking ship discovered in a large burial mound at the Oseberg farm near Tønsberg in Vestfold county, Norway. This ship is commonly believed to be among the finer artifacts to have survived from the Viking Era. The ship and some of its contents are displayed at the Viking Ship Museum at Bygdøy on the western side of Oslo, Norway
Paring the Fruit
From high terraces overlooking
the vineyards of Umbria you write
the countryside is on fire,
haystacks glow in the visible fields, burning quietly…
It is a distant salt stirring
my new life to answer.
I watch two rooms withdrawing
into the composition of a window
beyond two vases; slender reminders
of a time which motions,
like leaves, between seasons.
In my room the warped blue bowl
misses the way you filled it
with lemons and tangerines after
marketing; the way Matisse opened
our windows and lifted our poised
bodies to receive the light.
Here the grapes are seedless;
sheltered from circling birds,
growing ripe on hybrid
vines before drying against stained
All I have to show are my hands,
stained all summer long by ink and the absence
of turquoise lamps and emerald stones
against an orange quilt. And I think
the farmers must be leaving their nets of song now in the black
straits for the music and lights of their villages.
Living with Matisse
and you on Via della Sposa was not
so different now from imagining
myself walking through acres of herbs
and poppies in a hemisphere of blazing orchards.
Poems, or pomegranates, whichever you
prefer to remember me by,
filling your hands with all winter
while the Turkish men with their silver
tea-cups and braceleted wives made faint music,
laughter and talk on the midnight ferry,
returning from water harvest.
Across the street bells ring incessantly
from the old steeple. The church without pews
has forgotten the sound of beads, shawls, and embroidery.
I, too, forget your eyes, recalling the copper fruit we arranged
by dusk. That internal composition we could believe in
while our hands assumed form
with an affinity for silence.
This year living without you, I will eat
at a table of perfumed roses, tasting
only color. There will be words
this summer, only words, peeled,
collecting in an unlit corner, waiting
for the artist’s return.
We’ve updated our Events and Resources page. Please visit it before you go. — Editor
M.A. Sinnhuber is a new OLLI-USF member and is looking forward to joining OLLI online activities. Her chapbook, The Leaving Field, was published by MadBoooks in 2013. A member of Madwomen in the Attic since 2004, she has been published in Voices from the Attic, Pittsburgh Poetry Review, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Vox Populi, Sandhill Review, and Pittsburgh City Paper. A life-long Pittsburgh resident, now in Clearwater, she is working on a full-length manuscript.
Evelyn Ann Romano was a member of the Lifelong Writers at USF for several years and has been a member of OLLI since 2016. She has taken OLLI courses in poetry, writing, technology and laughter yoga. Her latest collection of poems, Ripe, is available from Amazon and other book sellers.
With degrees from Cornell, Georgetown University, and L’Universita per Stranieri, Pindie Stephen has spent her career teaching and working to improve the lives of the migrant community. She is currently a docent at the Tampa Museum of Art. We saw other poetry of hers a few months ago, when she was part of OLLI-USF’s blended learning program with OLLI at Northwestern.