Room 717

1.  Concettina

Summer is a crow with blue eyes.

Artichokes drink the water

and then the lake goes thirsty.

E chi se ne frega?

Why didn't I feed the cat?

The wind has carried away the window

and the saints plucked out all their eyelashes.

I lick the halo around my father's lips

and use his teeth

to tally my prayers to Jude.

How many is enough?  I tell them I want

a white crow feather in the key of F,

but nobody is selling them.  Bite my nipples

if you think an open door smells

like pound cake baking.

Bite my tongue

if you do not.

2.  Vincenzo

My eyes are dry and red as Pergusa

when she licks herself clean.

Someone said the crow on the sill

is drunk on grappa.  She would kiss

my ring and say Vincenzo,

this bird missing its foot is malocchio.

It looks like hair burning.

Out on the lawn, nurses in short sleeve shirts

drink coffee with too much cream

and tell each other this February

is a false spring.  Only angels know the worth

of artichokes and all of them are dead.

So is the mouse

in the mind of the cat.

I am a sea urchin with his hands

in other people's pockets. Fear tastes

like metal keys.

3.  Dr. Maurizio

I stir seven grains of salt into my coffee

with father's cornicello as if I believe.

All these crows that fly

in the window peck keyholes

in my papers and try to unlock them

with rings they've stolen from the hands

of nuns.  Gold turns the fingers

black of those who speak

to the future.  Harm is hard

to feel in the back of a drawer.

I show St. Peter the halos

at the base of my nails,

but he is unimpressed.

My stomach is full of winter rain

and priests' skeletons.  I spend too much

time talking.  God sounds like Etna

eating churches in Mascali.

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