—Jennifer Martelli

After they started the morphine drip after they took out the breathing tubes and the nurses left us

I lay my head next to his on his pillow for I'd heard that I'd never be so near to God as when He came for the dying.

One of us had to be high to be this close to each other– when we danced at my wedding, there I was,

so drunk! And here my father lay, an old undetonated bomb, and I, waiting crouching and cautious because

this was God’s last shot with me. What time he passed, I can’t say, because the clocks moved back an hour.

Bomb by Jennifer Martelli was published in The Monarch Review ~ Seattle's literary and arts magazine on April 16, 2014


—Jennifer Martelli

me tell you something about your son.

He misses you. You may know that. I've no idea of consciousness besides my own.

He misses you so much he sees you alive maybe on an island where you washed up when your boat went down.

Maybe you crawled up from the detritus and dead cod and became king of some unmapped Viking island in the North Atlantic. That would make him a prince.

Anyway. His story was lovely. If I were he,

I would wish you dead, rather than alive on a throne and not looking for me.

Dear_________ was published in Melancholy Hyperbole
on March 4, 2014. Poetry about longing.


Mal 'Occhio

—Jennifer Martelli

The red pepper hangs from a nail above the back doorjamb, and the totem inside its belly laughs–he is rich, hunchback and can trick the Devil. I take careful

stock, touch my stoneware plates, the ones with fired apples

on ivory paint. The white ceramic bowl with spare change and spare keys. Unfinished

crewelwork blessing in its bag. The needles. Books. Here is where I pray at night,

the foot of my bed. This is my coverlet, undyed muslin and clean. And under it,

a brutal thing, an ugly girl, God-blessed, left alone. The ceiling

shines white, drinking up what little moon can come through: a cup of milk, enough

for one night. That's it. No one wants anything of mine. I don't even make

a shadow on the wall. The bedsprings barely creak as I pull the pure cotton

close and tight, gift-wrapped, like a nun. Muffled goodness. Beneficent abstraction. Snuffed flame.

First published in Outsiders:Poems about Rebels, Exiles and Renegades

download audio Read by Jennifer Martelli

Rust + Moth A journal of poetry and the arts