Remi Recchia: 2 poems

On Visiting the Fairlawn Cemetery in Stillwater, Oklahoma

The birds here are tiny dinosaur soldiers:
black & feathered & claw-footed. Probably carnivorous.

 

We're walking down the path hand-in-hand,

tourists unaffected by bones at rest. It is cold,

 

& you are wearing my sweater. The brown

threads weave over your chest like a casket.

 

I understand death in a detached way—studied

coldness & distended stomach. My dog stopped

 

breathing in February (or March or April) & I

never told anyone about it, just burned his collar

 

& ate the rest of his food. Sometimes it is like this

in life.

 

I smell the wind picking up a few miles back; your hand

stills the back of my neck like a mother in prayer.

 

I'm thinking about those cold yellow cats,

how their mother was there, unidentified, among her kittens,

 

& I watched townspeople & children litter & smoke

in the parking lot. I waited for them to leave & stomped

 

out the embers. We called every animal shelter that night,

asking what to do & where to go & they told you,

 

"ma'am, they're supposed to be there, they're downtown

cats," & I didn't want to be the one to tell you the cats

 

would survive just fine without you. & now you're staring

at the graves, at your reflection in my face, small & white

 

& marble, reading dates of little deaths, & I know

how beautiful certainty tastes.


On the Event of My Father’s Seventy-second Birthday

O God

On my knees

& I’m thinking about the man in a leprechaun hat,

how he’s drunk & asking me if I am

my father’s son, telling us his son was murdered;

 

O God

On my knees

Basement incense will cover my brother’s cigarette

sounds, but not the slow slope of my father’s shoulders

Sometimes I wonder how it feels to dowry a daughter;

 

O God

On my knees

Was Abraham afraid of animaling his son?
It doesn’t matter if Isaac shuddered

These are the things we give to our fathers;

 

O God

On my knees

I am twenty-three & I can’t remember how to catch

white leather seamed with red, & I want to learn again,

but my father is away, skin stitched together tight;

 

O God

On my knees

I’ve been told I was born old, but I’m not

the one with liver spots, my lungs are fresh,

& I have never been more afraid of death.


Remi Recchia is a Ph.D. candidate in Creative Writing at Oklahoma State University. His work has appeared in Barzakh Magazine, Pittsburgh Poetry Review, Front Porch, Gravel, Glass: A Journal of Poetry, and Haverthorn Press, among others. He holds an MFA in Poetry from Bowling Green State University.  

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