Judy Neri

                for my daughter

I will make you an angel
from all the patches of my days
and all the scraps of my becoming.
I will take the bare, honest cloth,
denim to organza, and the rare silk,
all the crazy quilt patterns of my life.
I’ll sew its doll shape simply,
stuffing it with tender things for love
and sturdy things for courage.        
I will give it wings like harps
and eyes of burnished buttons
to catch all love’s light.

Its brows will be arched and spirited,
the nose flared to take in the breath of life,
its mouth generous for kissing loved ones.
I will embroider it with my distractions
and hope its seams rein in my lapses.

Crook it in your arm and it will snuggle;
loose it high in the air like a falcon,
and it will hover there,


Signs cross the city
washed in pounding surf
as the time of offices and banks
pulses, sags and is silenced.
Bank time is transformed
into the psalm of trilobites
pinging into imaginary measures.
The sirens go meditative
then scared as the waves menace.
The lone tones of survival
join, walk the verge.  Trilobites
become frogs jumping from stone
to stone of a primeval lake.
Both sound and silence mean.


Pick an object, any object,
examine its soul, its companions.

Try a sack, any sack—
sack of gold, sack of spuds,
wino’s sack, Sack of Rome.

Now dig deeper.  Find  
the birth sac,
bag lady, sackcloth and ashes.

Sacks balloon, empty, fill, collapse   
like the belly.
Think of Africa, sacked again and again
where the bellies
    with emptiness
as arms and legs dwindle.

The picture fades.
I drop my wand.
Nothing has changed.
Poor wizard I—

Try again.


Don’t give me flowers
for love or for grief—
their slashed green stalks
only tell me how death
came in their cutting,
how the color of each petal
hides its demise, its lost root
gone like the wife of the man
on the roof in New Orleans,
who cries out, over and over,
to the camera and the world
how the storm snatched her
right out of his hands,
how he could not hold her
against that hellish wind.

Give me instead a plant
that still has hope of life—
a cyclamen, an amaryllis,
a cactus that flowers and stabs—
like truth.

Judy Neri

Judy Neri has placed in The Formalist and Passager contests and had poems in The Classical Outlook, The Lyric, Poet Lore, Potomac Review, and other journals and anthologies. She is seeking a publisher for her first book.



Current Issue
Contributors' Notes

Karren Alenier

Jon Ballard

Virginia Bell

Bruce Bennett

Sarah Bonifacio

Sarah Browning

Jared Carter

John Thomas Clark

Jennifer Pruden Colligan

Claire Crabtree

Yoko Danno

Anthony DiMatteo

Robert Farnsworth

Carol Frith

Martin Galvin

Jen Garfield

Do Gentry

John Grey

JoAnne Growney

Amanda Halkiotis

Kirsten Hampton

Sherry Horowitz

Reamy Jansen

Brian P. Katz

Jesse Keegan

Mary Ann Larkin

Nancy Tupper Ling

Gregory Luce

Pete Mackey

Larry Moffi

Judy Neri

Shep Ranbom

Cynthia Nitz Ris

Lori Romero

Janice D. Soderling

Sandra Staas

Paul Kareem Tayyar

Naomi Thiers

Davide Trame

Jean Tupper

R.J. Van Zandt

Sharlie West

Barbara M. White

Terence Winch

Kathi Wolfe

Ernie Wormwood

Katherine E. Young










Email this poem

Printer friendly page






Last Updated: Sep 16th, 2007 - 08:34:32

Copyright © 2005 - 2006 Cook Communication.