National Poetry Month: Opening the Mail

W. S. Di Piero

To celebrate National Poetry Month, we’ll be sharing a poem a week from our archives. The following poem, “Opening the Mail” by W. S. Di Piero, is from the Golden State Bundle‘s Bay Area Issue. You can read more poetry by W. S. Di Piero in the issue itself, which is currently available as part of our Golden State Bundle.

ZYZZYVA Volume 35, #3, Winter 2019

The notices hit my inbox once a week, it seems,
dusty phantasmal names sickly and unwanted.
I don’t remember them, the boys from my high school,
their Irish, Slavic, Italian names in the “subject” line,
put there by Principle Father Rich, once one of us,
we tough tender souls weathering snotty skies.
The announcements come like rude enchantments, a sullen choir
beseeching with their newly minted news. They were there,
as I was, but the names are husks, blowing through time,
boys I never knew: Charlie McNally, Cosimo Picucci,
Stosh Grzywinski, the Two-Streeters and corner boys,
vets, mummers, contractors, bankers, teachers, priests,
returning to their place among the infinite
unheard-from dead. The e-mails remind me of the skulls
the old and new painters place just so, on a bright, rucked,
disheveled tablecloth, or scabbed rickety stool
impoverished in the studio, reminding us
of the weighty skulls we hold of children and lovers at night,
in bed, to keep them close and tell them that we’re here.

Simone Di Piero’s most recent poetry collection is The Complaints (Carnegie Mellon) and his most recent prose book is Mickey Rourke and the Bluebird of Happiness: A Poet’s Notebooks (Carnegie Mellon). He lives in San Francisco. Read more of his poetry in our Golden State Bundle.

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