Joan Mazza

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What Fills Your Head?

A mental map of my house and closets,
craft room shelves where papers, stickers,
paints, and ribbons are plentiful, a note
of what is running out. A kinesthetic
sense of my body’s position. The four
directions from where I sit. Awareness

of where both cats are perched or hidden,
and if they’re comfortable. What’s
in the refrigerator or freezer (more
or less) and what my next meal will be,
defrosting on the counter. A measure
of my hunger and anticipation.

What gullible people are still claiming
on the Internet— the massacre at Pulse
night club in Orlando was a false flag
so the government can confiscate guns,
there were no dead children at Sandy
Hook Elementary School, Obama

engineered Brexit, earthquakes, Hurricane
Katrina and wasn’t born in the USA.
Michele Obama is transsexual
and she ordered Joan Rivers killed.
What’s blooming in the garden,
what vegetables are ready to harvest

and what’s getting ready to bolt.
Where’s my paper calendar and what’s
ahead for next week? Books due
at the library, bills to pay, laundry to fold.
What quantities of coffee, canned tuna,
pasta, and toilet paper are on my shelves.

Ideas for poems, card designs, soups. Orders
yet to be delivered. When my next mammo
and dental cleaning are scheduled. How
much gas in my car, propane in the tank,
who hurt my feelings last. Those I can’t
talk to about politics and gun violence
or I might want to kill them.


Joan Mazza has worked as a microbiologist, psychotherapist, and taught workshops on dreams and nightmares. She is the author of six self-help psychology books, including Dreaming Your Real Self (Penguin/ Putnam), and her work has appeared in The MacGuffin, Slant, Crab Orchard Review, Prairie Schooner, Poet Lore and The Nation. She lives in rural central Virginia, where she writes every day.