for my grandmother
Your opera career in photographs.
A choir. Which of them was you?
Perhaps it was your cropped pearl hair
that shed its color early.
You never dyed it.
And your neck.
Your taut singer’s neck strained for the audience,
your children, my breastfed self----
The teapot whistled
from your tacky, jaundiced
hutch of a kitchen.
You commanded me to bring Earl Grey
and mistook my name,
a sour odor seeping where you sat
with your legs propped on the velvet recliner.
I could hardly believe how irritated I felt.
You had been doing so well with names and faces,
memories now an etch-a-sketch portrait
shaken by a child with some muscle wasting disease.
You always said that Grandpa
was “difficult” and “crazy.”
Either walking his Rottweiler too often
or picking extra shifts up as a janitor at Wal-Mart,
so he could “get away from you.”
If that was his reason, I can’t blame him.
I’m filled with nothing but shame for writing it,
but I couldn’t tell you. You’d just forget.
Little Lake Sunapee
The buoy beacon bobs,
and repeats its single rhythm,
its base, barnacled and mossy.
I don’t think I’ll reach it.
My pupils widen
with the crescent moon
casting tints of false silver
on the surface
of this crypt-cold reservoir.
The dainty shoreline cottage
with its rickety dock,
like the travel journal
you gifted me last summer,
while sparrows bickered
from the smokeless chimney.
Our drunken quarrels
always had an explanation.
When have I never loved
the pain of jealousy?
But this has gone past jealousy
to a mania with the clench
of a madman, a leaping
from the cliff of reason.
You never liked to swim here.
The water must have been too frigid.
Domenic Scopa was recently accepted into the number one low residency MFA program in the country, Vermont College of Fine Arts, and will attend there in June to attain an MFA in Poetry and Translation. He has worked closely with a number of accomplished poets including National Book Award Winner David Ferry and Washington Book Prize recipient Fred Marchant. He is currently the assistant poetry editor of Venture Literary Magazine.