She was rescued by my brother
from the toy factory fire, lifted
from ashes on the sidewalk
where she lay with a platoon of melted soldiers
and warped pick-up trucks.
She lay in her seamed stockings
and one gooey, high-heeled shoe
under the shriek and slanted light
of the elevated train,
where today men promise chica,
pushing photo cards
into the hands of other men.
I shampooed the cinders
from her smokey blonde hair,
wiped from her face
the smudged tracks of hosed char
that mimicked a woman’s tears.
But her sly smile told me
she’d never cry, even if she could,
despite the trauma of her close escape—
a Scarlet O’Hara
years before I watched the epic
with my high school friends,
wanting to be that kind of survivor,
clueless about the war ahead.
SIX REASONS TO WRITE POETRY
Because each poem is
a loaded grenade
soufflé just out of the oven
stray cur who’s caught your eye
bird touched down on a power line
rope tossed across water
to wherever the cry comes from
toddler unsteady as a drunk
with a knife in his hands
coming straight at you.
Maria Terrone is the author of the poetry collections Eye to Eye (Bordighera Press); A Secret Room in Fall (McGovern Prize, Ashland Poetry Press) and The Bodies We Were Loaned and a chapbook, American Gothic, Take 2. Her work, which has been nominated four times for a Pushcart Prize, has appeared in magazines including Poetry, Ploughshares and The Hudson Review and in more than 25 anthologies. She is the poetry editor of Italian Americana. www.mariaterrone.com