Joan Mazza


My father’s dead more than thirty years,
a sudden exit by his hand, left a mess
for his daughters to untangle. I confess
I cleaned spilled blood and brains, without tears
as I mopped the gore. What would happen
to my mother now, so sick she couldn’t
make a cup of tea? His final act wouldn’t
let me see him as better than some dragon
breathing fire on my youthful pleasure.
But there was a moment in the story
when he opened, told me he was sorry,
and shared his woe and a bit of treasure.
That window closed, a plot point I erase.
In a memoir, we choose details we will trace.


Joan Mazza has worked as a medical microbiologist, psychotherapist, seminar leader, and is the author of six books, including Dreaming Your Real Self. Her work has appeared in Rattle, Prairie Schooner, Potomac Review, Valparaiso Poetry Review, and The Nation. She is self-isolating at her home in rural central Virginia, where she writes a daily poem.

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