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ISSUE 4

    

Lawrence di Stefano

 

Southbound I-5

 

Graffitied carefully on the freeway overpass

it read       forgive them now

 

To think of you and drive is dangerous.

Beneath my seat, a pack of cigarettes

 

is asking me      how much do you still care?

 

I think of what you said to me that day,

of our last still moments in the car.

 

~

 

Then, further up the road I hear the song,

that song which goes      ba-Bum ba-Bum ba-Bum…

 

It goes and goes and fades into the night.

How did that song not make you tap your feet?

Photograph of the Sky at Night

 

Because the landscape is not conscious

in lending itself—not the way we think, not to this

idea of romance, or in suggesting, even,

our smallness—because the dark sky, I believe,

is there, I take its visible in, wide-eyed,

and let it fill me, its form is now my shape,

which is gesturing to you (yes, this is for you)

the way a dark sky can draw the eyes

of the lonely—but there is nothing here

of the tangible to recount in return,

for you, with any accuracy,

in any language, harsh or beautiful—

not cloud, nor wind, or stars, even,

except for what we call available light

and the quiet discernment

of the mind—cannot be held

in the hand and weighed, cannot be

pinned down, but sadness, somehow, stands

on two feet around here,

the dark filling up the eyes with light

the naked eye cannot see, the kind

which does not give, takes so long to enter,

and for whatever reason, to be let in—

and because I know that blindness

is what the day will bring, this man-shaped

dark and starless sky wonders, silently,

if you are really there at all, and if so,

can you tell me what love is

 

The Heart

 

Its hard, outer bracts are bitter sage scales

marked with yellow thorns.

See how each has been undone, peeled back,

disposed of—

and the stem, trimmed to a fighting knuckle,

runs down from its warm center,

choking on a crown of wet, blond hair

which rests above

the heart. Its purple florets, forbidden

to bloom, scraped out

with a spoon and what’s left is deep in the chest

of the pot, steeped

in green oil, getting soft. It’s stuck, now,

in the prongs of your fork.

It’s all yours.

Lawrence Di Stefano is a poet and photographer. His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Columbia Journal, Salt Hill, Waxwing, Southern Humanities Review, Tupelo Quarterly, and RHINO, among others. He holds an MFA in poetry from San Diego State University and is co-editor of poetry at The Los Angeles Review. He is currently working on his first collection of poems, Relapsing Green. His photographs served as the cover images for Bicoastal Review's Issue 1 and Issue 2.

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