The Strange House of the Past
Moving through the strange house
of the past
the black ink of midnight
what I want is dangerous
the sound the wind makes,
a portrait of the world
in soft orange or blood red.
I dream my cousin teaches me
how to balance in a kayak
though I am terrified of water.
In the finished basement where
I first made love, I learn how to tell
a rose from a frog, how to break my heart.
Why does the world reek of death and violence?
In the changing light of the past who
we were rises up to confront us
We cannot smile or laugh,
our faces crumple.
What we want is too dangerous
to hold or touch.
by Maria Mazziotti Gillan
from Ancestor's Song (Bordighera Press, 2013)
Maria Mazziotti Gillan's new poetry collection is When the Stars Were Still Visible (2021). Other recent publications are the poetry and photography collection, Paterson Light and Shadow and the poetry collections What Blooms in Winter and The Girls in the Chartreuse Jackets which pairs her poems with her paintings. Maria's artist's website is MariaMazziottiGillan.com and her poetry website is MariaGillan.com.