Lawrence di Stefano
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
Its hard, outer bracts are bitter sage scales
marked with yellow thorns.
See how each has been undone, peeled back,
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.