After God

—Jennifer Martelli

Outside, the neighbor’s dog barks madly at a sparrow in the maple, and the same breeze moving through its expectant limbs abrades my arms. Even my hands seem weighty things curled

in my lap. The silver barrette, clasping my hair away from my neck, tugs,

and any worry–the basil needs water, we need milk, the wood floors need a sweep, the heat’s

warped the windows again and they won’t ever shut– is as bothersome as sweat.

I should keep still today. Let the bugs in if they want, not think of the ocean. Useless work. I mean now,

after God, to give meaning to any of this, to name it, or fix it, or love it.

download audio Read by Jennifer Martelli

Smoking Outside in Front of a Motion Sensor Light Because I Love My Children

—Jennifer Martelli

I have caused the moths to come. They want to frolic around my back porch light.

They want to kiss it.

First, they must pass around or through the spider’s web tatted to the back porch eave.

Then, my cloud of cigarette smoke.

A good Garcia y Vega would please some gods or saints.

So, either smoke or a moth should work.

What will come of my calling you here?

Some of the moths cling to the screen door.

Some of the moths get a burning mother of a kiss.

One never makes it through the web.

The spider tears half the web to reach and swaddle him.

Half her web hangs like a torn mantilla.

Her hard work gone; her night’s work well done.

Beyond it all, I’m offered a whole warm sky of stars.

download audio Read by Jennifer Martelli

The Range

—Jennifer Martelli

Some people crave open spaces, the range pulled
taut as a bed sheet and expectant. I got lost

driving through a town built on a flatland.
The world could have ended as it arced

miles down the highway. I aimed
straight, all the way to the horizon line.

If the heat hadn’t rippled and warped
the road, I could have fallen off the edge clean.

Forthcoming in Right Hand Pointing

download audio Read by Jennifer Martelli