White Birches

—Jennifer Martelli

.....when the Erinyes were about to put Orestes out of his mind, they appeared to him black, but once he had bitten off his finger they appeared to be white....

It is a pleasure to walk through the gem-tone theme of my neighborhood streets: Emerald, Sapphire, and my own, Ruby. One home has a small forest of white birch trees, straight with bark fragile as rolling papers, and there is peace in that spot every season, no matter what: the color never changes and the house is quiet like someone inside was dancing and stopped. There’s a small strip of stores at the top of the street--a package store, a deli, a bank. The end of my tiny trek could be in any one of those shops--the end of yours, too, if you’ve already fallen, if the decision has been made, you could fill a tote bag with whiskey or candy or rope for a noose, money, you could gamble. The walk back home past the white birch forest is best: my tote’s still full and even though I see my shoes move, they don’t make a sound.

A Fall

—Jennifer Martelli

March day. Molotov.
Left struck and half blinded in a bombed-our country.

The sun an ache in my eyes, the sun lost in gun-gray motes.

Nobody's quick footsteps come to teach how to use my hands.
The meanings here too new, the words, rubble, Braille.


—Jennifer Martelli

— Greek Goddess of Necessity

Necessity itself a loose
word, an ancient loopy god, it means

constriction, the way an indifferent green

anaconda takes you in its coils.

Necessity, a noose
shaped like a sacrificial wreath,

and the shape of our lips when we breath
just before we are about to kiss.

I prefer the linear and like things to unwind.

When I’ve waited too long, I begin to unravel
the strands, unbraid the rope, untie the knot.

There is nothing kind
about an inevitable and personal


Rust + Moth A journal of poetry and the arts