Domenic Scopa

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Poem Beginning with Loneliness

Loneliness is knowing that the needle couldn’t care less if the black tar warms the body,
or if the conscious movement of a finger is your last.

The eulogies don’t paint the honeysuckle light that crumbles from the chandelier
like pollen sifting through a garden,

or the nephew manifesting from the darkness of another room,
as if from another world,

his diaphragm and vocal cords in harmony to orchestrate the soul’s unwriteable remorse.


I love the way you try to make it all seem better:
I know what you mean by loneliness, I think.
But language is what binds us al--Imagine anything without its scaffold.

There was the sound of diesel motors droning as the plows cleaned up the streets,
which I listened to so clearly it became a vast vibration, then a sound not there,
then the whine of cruisers’ sirens scaling streets to find some muggers fleeing in an alley. 

I was without speech,
which is to say no one was there to listen.


Once in a dilapidated house, I walked in on my uncle, skin the shiny cobalt of the overdosed,

and needles left their little pinhole clues all down his arms
so you could almost play connect-the-dots.

As his brown curls slightly lifted with the breeze that siphoned through the window,
finding their own life, panic vacuumed breath out of my lungs.

After several seconds of time’s torque, I sprinted down the wooden stairs
that seemed to drum and drum with every step.


Driving in a downpour, having lost my way,
I wondered what life would be like as an addict, homeless, high,
who had no alternative except to starve,

and how, after the initial pain,
they say starvation is like floating on euphoria,
the feeling when the heart appears to stutter as you kiss your crush,
the way that this would be the final flood that fills you,
before whatever was remaining slowly withered with each updraft of a gust.

And no company at that moment, but only loneliness, I thought.
Only loneliness would be…Then, I knew what it would be.

For a second I could hear dogs howling in backyards, their thin spines arched.

A shriek of wind, no consolation in the silent reverie of night
in which the lonely might be forgotten.

And not you beside me in the dark, but only a whirling ceiling fan condemned to chase itself
until I switched it off, the moonlight, filtered by the window shades, beaming iron bars
across the carpet, its white the white of blank paper.

I could almost imagine you…No, I could only hope to imagine you.
That is what it has become--Having to hope, having to hope for everything.

Desperately, and without end.

Domenic Scopa is a three-time Pushcart Prize nominee and the 2014 recipient of the Robert K. Johnson Poetry Prize and Garvin Tate Merit Scholarship. He holds an MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts. His poetry and translations have been featured in Reed Magazine, Borderlands: Texas Poetry Review, Reunion: The Dallas Review, Belleville Park Pages, and many others. He is currently a Lecturer at Plymouth State University and a Writing Center Specialist at New Hampshire Technical Institute. His first book, The Apathy of Clouds (FutureCycle Press), is forthcoming in 2018. He currently reads manuscripts for Hunger Mountain and Ink Brush Publications