September-October 2014 ………. The Global Online Magazine of Arts, Information & Entertainment ………. Volume 10, Number 5
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Nicole Santalucia/Poetry

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The Things I Want to Believe

 
I want to believe that drunk men go to the bowery
and bathe in puddles
that they drown in their own vomit
I want to believe that my father
spent his childhood tied to a swing set
or that my mother was forced to
eat dinner in a dark coat closet
I want to believe these things
because I need an excuse
for the time I robbed my parents
I need an excuse
for the time I broke into their house
crawled across the living room floor
I got distracted by the white fuzz on the carpet
I thought it was crack and ate it
I disappeared that night
with my mother’s jewelry and my father’s wallet
I need to believe that someone else
has experienced what it’s like to starve
I need to know that drug addicts and drunks
don’t die alone on their parents’ floor
in the middle of the night
 
 
 
What Stands Behind Me Now
 
What stands behind me now
in line at the grocery store
is not just another person
but an old man
waiting to pay for his prunes.
I notice the long wispy hair
in his nose and ears and lose my appetite.
 
Behind me is another constipated life
an attempt at freedom
and maybe an old neighbor
I don’t recognize.
 
I didn’t know all my neighbors
on Massachusetts Ave.
because no one mowed their lawns
or trimmed their bushes. They were afraid
to come outside.
 
When I was five
on Massachusetts Ave.
a man drove across the neighbor’s lawn
it was a reckless get away.
 
I saw his face in the rearview mirror
a split second
his hairy nose was frightening
it was like a monster crawling out of his head.
The black hairs like a thousand spider legs
took over his face
 
Behind me now are monsters that look like innocent old men
standing in line.  I want to empty my grocery bag
and put it over their heads
to suffocate the memory of Massachusetts Ave.
where all the houses appear empty
all except an unmade bed or a refrigerator turned upside down
as if someone broke in and searched for an answer
or a piece of jewelry or a child in a yellow sweater
waiting for her mother to come home.
This is what bloomed in winter:
children sprout from yellowed linoleum floors on Massachusetts Ave.

 

Emptying Out the House

The only thing we found under her bed
was a note taped to the bed frame
that said who should inherit the mattress
and in the top drawer of the dresser
there was another note
that had your name on it
the lamp she tried to send you home with
every time we visited
had a note on it too
there was a list of names
on the liquor bottles
under the kitchen sink
we never heard her mention
Bobby, Lou Anne, Madeline
and there were picture frames
with price tags on them in her closet
the receipt was in her wallet
the least we can do is return them
to put something back where it came from

 

About the poet:

Nicole Santalucia is currently working toward her Ph.D. in English with a concentration in poetry at Binghamton University and she is the Poetry Editor of Harpur Palate. She received her M.F.A. from The New School University in 2008.  Her work has appeared in Pax Americana, and the Paterson Literary Review.  She has also been featured on The Best American Poetry Blog in 2011-12.