Alert or fast asleep, the start of day, after midnight, at the sudden
chug of electricity—the blast of heat coming from a furnace
turning over, like a snoring old man finding his breath in
the space between gasp & gulp, I stand forced
to listen to the sounds of this farmhouse, trying to think of
another winter, briefly—
Cold window, my worn face in its watery glass, wanting
to have a word with me— still, I resist listening to her
perennial scolding of what I need to do before
a lavender light sifts over the orchard and fields . . .
Who waits for me to accept what I’ve loved
amounts to nothing.
Once I realize this, I will be standing
here, empty-handed, without
confusion or excuse, ready
to be— this.
Hardship and Rest
Why do I move without wanting to,
why am I not able to sit still?
~ Pablo Neruda
He shouts answers. He shouts at his wife, his children. He made
a mistake shouting at his mother who wasn’t expecting his answers
to be without kindness or conversation. She looked into his eyes, then
at the shapes of his face, searching for the map of his agitation. She is
a burden in the way that she is his mother and she sees through him.
This is sorrow’s mirror. Hold it up and he will see that he does not
have the answers; only a raised voice, trying to stop the inane
questions— his mouth moving, even in his sleep.
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. She has three full-length poetry collections, most recently 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.