Four Poems | Donna Pucciani

Alessandro, Five Months Old

 

In twenty years, your old American auntie

will be dead—or wishing she were—

 

and you will be a young man strutting your stuff

in the streets of Madrid, turning heads in tavernas

 

or at the university where your English

spangles the campus of Romance tongues.

 

Your pants will be tight, or fashionably baggy ―

who knows the future a la mode—

 

and you will be clean-shaven, or bearded,

or somewhere in between, but now,

 

Alessandro, your eyes own the blue

of the ocean. Your hair, a blondish fuzz,

 

remains a mystery on the little head

you are learning to hold up with the macho

 

strength of a bull’s neck. In Chicago, you have

graced me with a visit. At dawn, the warm lump

 

of your body is hard to lift in my bony arms,

your baby flesh growing at imperceptible speed,

 

your face a wordless map of the world,

an undiscovered universe.

 

We dance cheek to cheek in the dark,

our love forever swaddled in the dawn’s

 

inaudible hymn. The years will vanish

behind us in the blink of your eye.

 

Now the Milky Way feeds you, your strawberry

mouth sucking intergalactic sustenance.

 

Don’t cry. Your day is dawning as your elders

balance on the edge of twilight.

 

The earth waits to receive them, even as

it flung you into existence just months ago

 

with a cosmic shudder. I ask only

that you remember the wrinkled hands

 

that cradled you on this October morning

as your muscled legs learned to kick

 

for the first time against my aching joints,

where your small swathe of forehead

 

has borrowed the creases of mine,

folding the two of us together

 

in the gathering light.

 

 

Double Vision

 

From Earth

airplane and star are visible

together

 

one a floating box

of humans breathing,

eating, snoring

 

the other a fireball

possibly a planet

with a mythical name

 

two little icons

glowing white

Sometimes

 

the difference is obvious:

one bobs in the dark

a mechanical yo-yo

 

the other a cosmic dot

on the vestments of night

Some evenings

 

a fog blurs

sight and mind

Indistinguishable

 

is the flesh-filled silver

falcon cleaving the sky

heading for the airport

 

from the stellar gleam

ablaze overhead

 

 

 

Discovery

 

Baby Alessandro is not Columbus,

(who, in fact, did not discover America),

or Magellan, though some days he seems

to sail his own private seas, trying to grab

the horizon. He is not Galileo, nor Curie.

He does not yet know, at four months old,

on what bright star he makes his home.

He lies on his back in the crib, watching

light play like strange birds on the ceiling.

 

His little face is soft, unlined. The blue orbs

of his eyes are philosophical, wondering why

the pacifier falls to the floor, as the apple

might fall from the tree. He is a tiny sage,

a virtual Socrates, as he stares into space,

a stranger to himself, engaged in syllables

of silent dialogue.

 

He seeks answers

but cannot formulate the questions.

His limbs flail restlessly in the morning sun.

Then something red crosses his field of vision,

though, according to the experts, he can see

only black and white.

 

He waves at the bobbing object, then grabs

the brightness of his sock, feels something beneath.

It is warm. It is alive. It moves. Amazement shines

in the wonderment of a body part, clutched

briefly in his fist. He has discovered his foot.

Life will never be the same.

 

He will soon learn to sit up, crawl, then walk,

to name things that used to hide in the corners

of ancient rooms, in the recesses of his brain.

Now he can only grasp his toe, asking

without language the meaning of life, of self,

of touch, that most important of all senses.

 

 

Lost Art

 

Writing letters was, in those days,

the only transatlantic option,

the internet not yet invented,

the telephone not yet mobile,

flights too costly.

 

Air mail was our salvation,

the tissued fold-over letters,

thin and blue as the skies they

would travel, their own envelope

dressing them inside and out.

 

And later, separate leaves piled up

when words overflowed the pre-paid

double-creased singletons, and a sheaf

of ideas flew carefree as birds in a weightless

blue envelope, purchased at the stationer’s,

that miraculous anachronism.

 

We wrote of films and philosophers,

books and family suicides, weather events

and autocratic leaders, powerful and ridiculous.

Through the hours, we penned, then typed

our intimate language on an old Smith Corona,

metallic blue.

 

Finally, imagination took up residence

in our laptop computers, keyboards ready

to eavesdrop on syllables and years. Goodbye

to typewriters clacking unevenly in the twilight.

Farewell to airplanes, their bags stuffed

with the freight of our sound and speech.

 

Anticipation of the other’s heartbeat

across an ocean witnesses felicity and regret,

friendship and desire inked digitally on a page.

The waiting never stops.

 

Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

 

Bio

Donna Pucciani, a Chicago-based writer, has published poetry worldwide in Shi Chao Poetry, Poetry Salzburg, Meniscus, ParisLitUp, Agenda, Gradiva, and other journals. Her seventh and most recent collection of poetry is EDGES.

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