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Elizabeth Iannaci: California Poets Part 6, Three Poems

Elizabeth Iannaci

October 18th, 2023

California Poets: Part VI

Elizabeth Iannaci

Three Poems

The Coming of…A Certain Age

She becomes more ghostlike each day, even her footsteps make barely a sound, just this soft patter, almost nothing—a big cat late

for the kill, arriving after the delicacies (the heart, breasts, & thighs) are gone, leaving only bones to content her. She sees herself consisting, not of

flesh & frame, but layer upon layer of memory, the strata of time upon time, an airy, eccentric body near to undetectable, a wraith lacking vital shine.

Unlike her blossoming days: she’d enter a room and the temperature would rise—then, she was tomorrow’s candle impatient for a match, impatient to dust

off the stars within her and emit a light that flares into the little-known, the un-nameable, into any tomorrow. Now, taking in a breath,

she lets out something like a sigh, sending not a prayer or demand (more a reconciliation) up toward the heavens (whatever that might be) a warm

exhale of hopes & defeats as though they were bouquets tossed by a bride. She throws another, and another, free of expectations, the light within her igniting the air.

With end words from The Coming of Light by Mark Strand

Françoise Gilot

I told him, [Picasso] the principle of the victim and the executioner didn’t interest me. I didn’t think either of those roles suited me very well. –Françoise Gilot

When you left him, he burned everything around you. But you, not burned, found yourself in the desert (as he predicted) the taste of ashes in your mouth. Still, you did not burn. Open umbrella in hand, you chewed prickly pear, stuck out your thumb, got the hell out of there. How did you know that most cactus will kill you. How did you know he would curl up on the hard-wood floor, the sweat of fear on his brow as the light drained from the day, from the room, from his eyes

Sunlight is a Virtue

Wind is an instrument of sound, a song keening through caves in Cappadocia, the rustle upon rustle rung from its shimmer through groves of plane trees. It’s a broom, if strong enough, a bulldozer— move a mountain? Easy.

Morning is an appetizer, a hint of what the day might be. Today’s morning needed daylight to slap me out of my groggy inertia, to dissolve night and rest upon the dresser. Its inlay of cut, polished bones couldn’t imagine they’d someday catch light, playing on the surface a craftsman half-a-world away would sweat above — no regrets. His work would equal rice and salted vegetables, katokkon pepper, then scraps given to a flop-eared, short-tailed dog—work that would become a length of magenta fabric hung in the window softening morning.

This is not a prayer, meditation, contemplation, but a clear act of will—fill the space between molecules with some perception of the light which has not been held. Visual noise is my nemesis. It interferes, bends the shortest point, makes a zigzag of the straight line, builds a vast maze, sprinkles breadcrumbs that lead only to a nest of hungry birds. Yet,

sunlight remains a virtue, a radiant of protons & electrons encountering each other, producing heat; an integrity of light spiraling 93 million miles to poke fingers through clouds, warm air currents, dazzle against quivering leaves, landing at the far walls of my eyes.

Author Bio:

Elizabeth Iannaci is a widely-published and anthologized LA-based poet whose work appeared recently in The Saranac Review, Pentimento, Crab Creek Review, Pratik Anthology of Southern California Poets and other publications. She earned her MFA in Poetry from VCFA, and is partially-sighted, which may account for her preference to paisley over polka dots. Her most recent chapbook is The Virgin Turtle Light Show: Spring, 1968 from Latitude 34 Press.


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