Angela Consolo Mankiewicz, US




Free Verse


What if I'd fainted at the graveside
after they'd lowered her coffin
into the ground?

What if my arms slip from their grip
as they pull skyward and I fall onto
her shrunken breast?

What if nobody notices laughter
or thinks it unseemly in mourners
or mourned?

What if I raise myself up and out
stand my ground and demand
my share of stones?




He found himself a box
a small, undistinguished box
to put himself into.

Not all of him, a part
unlamented by him, the part
most recently over
and ready to be forgotten.

Not forever
he knew
that was not possible
he knew
though it would try its best

not to fidget, to keep still,
not try to turn over, still,
it could not rest

forever, it would have to knock
at one side or another, knock
hard at times, just tap

at other times to recall him
to its time, pinpoint him
to its place on his map
for a moment or two, a year or so.


When he first laid it in the box
on top of the older parts in his box
he watched it settle in

without a sigh, a shrug, a lock
he closed the box without a lock
a sigh, a shrug, a smile.



A Villanelle Variation Of My Last Duchess

Dedicated, with much admiration,
to the memory of Browning, the Master Poet

They tell me my painting remains on the same wall.
"My last duchess," he repeats to each father come to propose
his pubescent child's worthiness to succeed me

to imperial riches and papal honors, and to be painted.
The Duke has had several Raphaels and Berninis moved or removed
but, they tell me, my portrait remains on the same wall.

Does the Duke consider, you think, how Fra Pandolf
may color her cheeks and drape her gown to highlight
the lovely child's worthiness to succeed me?

She will revere, unfailingly, the Duke's 900-year old
name; but should she falter she may, perhaps, be comforted
by my portrait remaining on that same wall.

They say the Duke has grown fond of my glance, the same
glance that so distressed him and must be guarded against
by the chosen child, however demure, who succeeds me.

I wonder that I have ever been happier than here in the convent:
I bestow my glance as I desire, including to my dear Duke.
They tell me, again and again, my painting remains on the wall. I pray
that will give solace to the father of the worthy child who succeeds me.



Chasing After "Million Dollar Baby"

They would not sit her up anymore, this June,
unlikely name for this Baby powered by stress,
stress powered by dreams dreamed under skies, moon
lit or less and will willing to chance, to obsess
over that chance to win, win big-time, risk the snake
in Kali's pit before it's too late, the dare moot,
before the icing dries on your mouth from that cake
they say you can't have, you can't eat, before that beaut
of a right crumbles your spine and you fade like Garbo
might have if she wasn't Garbo and refused to play,
like you, laid out on a stack of bones, a hobo
with no arms or legs to hop a freight and save the day.

A good man freed you, Babe, let you out like no rhinestone,
but a diamond dazzler, dipped in perfume, not cologne.








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