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Poetry by Daniela Buccilli 

Daniela lives, teaches high school, and writes in Pennsylvania.




© 2003  Daniela Buccilli




Race in Indianapolis


Across the fast track highway

            From my brother's apartment,

Trees of the same generation

            Line a bike lane

In predictable scatter.


Walking in hippie dress,

            I ask the black couple

In royal American garb

            Beside the Schwinn ten speeds

If there are benches along the trail.


Yes, but none shaded, the bare-

            chested cyclist said.  He wears his

Shirt draped around his head

            Like a sheik.


I make sure to stare

            Only at the woman,

Watching the lobster clasp

Of her two inch yellow gold necklace

Slip into the dip in her collarbone.

When I smile, I remember


My teeth, step behind them quickly,

            And thank them. 

Do black women or Indian women

            Hate a smiley white woman.


I can't stop the smiling—

I'm smiling myself to death—


Like the time in '87 when Shantelle

            Recited my example poem to

Antwone in glowing mockery.

            I felt a punch to the lung,

But I kept smiling.


While I was listening to the Beatles,

            Three black kids carrying crates

Full of chocolate candy bars

            For $4.50 each

Knocked on the apartment door.


I noticed one's uncombed African        

            Carpethead.  Now feeling guilty

For noticing such a difference

            I buy the chocolate.


Next time I walk the bike trail

            I'll concentrate on the circles

Around every trunk of each 25 year old tree.

            A mini-race track, a X-mas train set.

Like ripples around a dropped dream.


            Concentric circles

In dusty black on the tar trail.

            Lawn mower, my engineer brother

Explains. Perhaps it is to avoid


Backing up the machine

That makes the groundkeeper drive in circles.







Ross Park Mall Shopping


A woman on the second floor

must not see

a man in the same color outfit as she

has on below her.


She maneuvers in fashionable strides.

Toes ahead of her nose.

I can see

his arm muscles showing,


his chest taunt

through orange tennis shirt

that stretches

over him. 


Her orange tennis shirt

Is loose and waving like a flag

over blue slacks. 

His blue slacks are, too, waving,


as he

negotiates people


on the escalator up.


No shape to his rump, just

a vacated bump,

like her belly.


Between them, I sip Pepsi,

watch them cross


each other


like two soldiers on patrol,

like two birds in the clouds.







A Partial List of Love's Qualities:  Weight and Measures


Love has the weight of a lover

before he gets sick and dies in a hospital

bed big enough for forty more lovers.

Love is the touch of your lips on his closed eyelids before

he wakes up and tells you the news:

You wait to hear what he has chosen.


Love is rawcotton ripping mountainchildren's fingertips,

who promise never to make their children pick cotton—anything was better than this,

but they were wrong.  Not much is better than the weight of working

alongside old men and old women who remember the day you were born. 

But how could they have known? Every lover is a child accustomed to love.

One forgives lovers for cross words:

How can anyone in love imagine the million ways the world has to not love you?


Love weighs no more than your father's shoe,

brown black, plastic tips on the laces,

a strip of shag carpet inside.

Love weighs no less than your mother's

grief for not finishing the wedding veil

she started, because her hands cramp now.

Love is the weight of a cart on which your two best friends sit

while you push it down the hall in your high school;

they gripping the edge, their legs outstretched and tight; they hooting. 

You--just barely making the corners and making a racket, but nobody comes out

of a classroom to yell.  The yellers have all gone for the summer, and you have

the whole school with all its globes and maps, its closets

of posters and book storage rooms full of dust to yourself,

you and your two best pals, who later leave town and go places

where they are allowed to be themselves, the selves they'd created,

but you knew them when they lived under the pressure

of a small town, and you saw the diamond crystals forming. 


Love drifts through fibers and tissue and loneliness, slowly,

            as if it had all the time in the world.  We can only wait in measured caution.

            Today, when we leave this hospital too early for anything,


            it may decide to float down in the wet wrinkle of a falling green leaf,

            shaped like a small finger, to find you or me,

                        despite our experience.






All work is copyrighted property of Daniela Buccilli.



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