By Vincent Livoti

At dusk, the old woman sits on deck furniture her husband built.
Short hair twisted about her ears like a pomade cabbage,
she remembered when he erected this house,
the massive A-frame a pie slice cut away from Birch forest,
its haunting inverse on a winter night like a sepia-toned negative.

Sleeveless on her porch, arms raised like a zombie,
she closes her brown eyes without thought or hesitation
and waits for the bats, no bigger than moths, to skim her silvery arms.
A grin wiggles the taught line of her mouth like a machine-read pulse.

The old woman remembers touch, how the fiberglass,
delivered by truck over thirty years ago, resembled bailed snow.
How desperately she wanted to eat it like cotton candy,
feel its slow melt on her warm, budded tongue.
She remembers her husband planing wood, shirtless and young,
the way his ribs ascended from small to large, catching flesh.
as he shaved off yellowy fibers that curled around knuckled toes,
their color rounding out the spectrum of his tan.

Surely someone will be humane and turn on the porch light,
let her silhouette burn into the floorboards
so that people can spot her reaching out like a hand from the shadow of death,
begging not to be forgotten.


Vincent M. Livoti's poetry and short fiction have been seen in such international publications as The Prague Pill, Rectangle, and Soundings East. His book of poems, entitled Thaw, is forthcoming in 2003. He currently works as a writing instructor for Boston area colleges.


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