October Mist || Robert Piazza

Sometimes my rake strikes sparks
when I scratch the rocks or gravel—
Lovers wave to soldiers on the train
in black & white movies I have seen—
They cry into their handkerchiefs—

The swish of my rake against the dirt
makes mountains of your leave-taking,
pyramids for you, father, my pharaoh—
Everyone I ever love will leave
calluses in the crook of my hand—

This old rake has prongs of metal
outstretched like skeleton fingers—
Filling the rusty wheelbarrow,
I lean my rake against the shed
and wipe my forehead with my shirt—

Like a pallbearer, I drag the tarp
across the yard—I twist my hips—
Dad, you were always such a liar—
Sometimes I wish you didn’t hurt
me so much—I strike a match—

This mound becomes your funeral pyre
as I light the fire with gasoline—
The smoke of burning leaves lingers
in the air like ghosts at Halloween,
but nothing smolders like my sorrow—

Rob Piazza earned his MFA in Creative Writing at Fairfield University. His poems have recently appeared in October Hill Magazine, Neologism Poetry Journal, Heart of Flesh Literary Journal, Young Ravens Literary Review, Welter at University of Baltimore, and Months to Years Literary Journal. In April 2023, he was a featured reader at the Mad River Literary Festival sponsored by CT State Northwestern. Currently, he serves as Poet Laureate of Litchfield, Connecticut. https://www.pw.org/directory/writers/robert_piazza


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