“Sipsula solidissima,” “Notice Pending” and “Saturday with Pa”

Issue 26 by Joseph Pagano

Sipsula solidissima

Let me tell you something about the human

heart. It's there

in the black paper cameo cutout shadow of a girl spinning a barrel hoop against

an almond wall by de Chirico. A nurse turns her back on

an amputated leg

waiting in motley for the orderly

to bring order. She lingers like a petroleum slick

prism in a ships wake, allows

herself a whiff of the ether depleted cotton gauze. The metallic

teeth continue their consumption without her regard.

Dinghy fingers arrange her

Cherry stones on a sheet of paper napkin. “How much

for the canary?” Someone asks,

their fingertip endures the avian nibbling

through the copper fugue.

“What's the rush?” A violinist

asks the commuter stumbling toward

the open doors of a subway car,

his green satin lined case reeking with pennies.

And yet there's time

for hills to stroke the chin hair of clouds

aging as they pass, alchemical agents,

shifting like balloons inflated by a magician’s assistant and

delivered to this illusionist’s hand for

rebirthing.

An ocean has flowed through

a clam tongue, sucked out of its halved

shell and turned into the sated diners

ashtray. He and his dining companions

exhalations consummate against the plate glass

windows, violet within the inconsistent neon

red. Outside,

there is mercy in the rain,

somewhere falling.

Notice pending

This is not the letter that I expected to receive from you
Absent so of apology but
Filled instead with reports of bad weather; “one
Of the chickens passed and a few of the
Others have
As a result
forgone the laying of eggs.”

You say that you have taken to wrapping camphor
In burlap and storing it in the attic
To keep the beetles out of
The roof beams

Where last summer while
Putting up the winter things
You swore that you saw
Dry bat guano and “the grasping
Tiny little claw marks of their rat
Reminiscent fists groping out toward
The dark they find
So comforting”

Anyway
That’s behind the both of us now
Like asbestos and rubber steam rising off the Carolina asphalt
Where
With one arm I
Held you still
Against the cars velocity a
Law of thermodynamics about bodies in
Motion tending to stay so
Inclined:
Cut off by a careless drunk in the
June dusk
As we came to a complete
And
As yet still in that rare moment
An unharmed soft stop.

Saturday with Pa

A red bull is in the meadow.

There are bees in the corn.

A dull green warbler sings harmony just out of sight.

The hounds cannot bear to look us in the eye. Their mongrel lips dark with forage.

We annihilate mass with speed.

Concentric

Troutlet rings

Like nodes of electric

Chirping

Horses hurry before the whip

A shuffling of pigment above

Drawn thieves dangling from the boughs

Sappho with your null parenthesis like

An Arabic zero

Holding the place of everything to come before or since

About the Author

Joseph Pagano

Joseph Pagano's writing has appeared in Narrative Magazine, the Columbia Observer, Stone Shoes and War, Literature and the Arts.