Toothless, Singing Birds; Who Carries The Water; I Was Born in Spring
By: Cerissa DiValentino
Toothless, Singing Birds
We cried when my teeth were torn.
I could not you could not yell we were
so sore. I was thrown from my home you
had to fling yourself from yours for me for love
for healthier teeth, too, we kissed and you held my hands
and nipped my neck, earlobe, heart like we do
on this current, rickety, hoping, kitchen floor.
The talking cry of a saxophone beats on our glass,
but we never shut the window.
Awaiting, in the distance, is the stroke of a tender bow
from a violin humming music
as sweet as the human whistle of morning
birds, that keeps our hips moving, lips
curling to noses, legs intertwined
like wicker trees.
I will still love you, always, even if
the birds are dead at sunset.
My new teeth are growing in stronger because you
are here, I whistle, too, now, thank the heavens
you have always
sang with me.
Who Carries The Water
There is a greying bucket
out in the yard,
water spills in,
The bucket recalls
when it once glowed fresh silver,
halted the spills of leaky faucets,
carried sand from the children’s soft palms,
soil from mother’s blooming garden.
There’s mold in the bucket now.
It never seems to stop spreading.
The holes only grow to rusted copper shades
filling the air with a metal stink.
The children, now, wrap their fingers
around steering wheels and pens
that sign paper checks,
the children’s children toss pebbles at
the gravestone that juts like a crooked tooth
from the ground,
the one that says Mother.
I Was Born in Spring
I am caught in the rain today
with my coffee cup open.
My coffee tastes sweeter
and I can see where the clouds unfold,
With my hair down,
I leap through the heavy puddles.
The wind blows back my coffee cup lid and suddenly,
I am praying,
The pittering of rain diving into my coffee,
along my feet on the once hot pavement
and upon my head where I think too often,
it’s most forest green leaves
around my vertebrae,
wraps it’s skinny fingers
around my nerves,
stretches long long long and wide over
the thing that makes me ache.
higher and taller
I march through the pitter patter,
open my mouth,
and sing the tune of a songbird.
Cerissa DiValentino is currently studying Creative Writing and Literature at SUNY Purchase College in Purchase, NY. Her work has appeared in The Daphne Review, the Of Love and Dedication anthology by the Live Poets Society of NJ in conjunction with Poetry!!!, the Chronogram Magazine and The Telling Room. She loves her plants and reading Joan Didion.
When I wrote, “Toothless, Singing Birds” I just had my wisdom teeth removed while I was also experiencing a very emotional time in my life. I became interested in combining the pain of my physical body with my emotional pain. Because that is what we are as humans—we are everything physical and emotional. We are the beautiful combination of the tangible and intangible. I was inspired by the violent tearing of a tooth and I wanted to associate it with the emotional stress of having to tear yourself from home.
“Who Carries The Water” started out very different. All of my poems grow so much from their first draft and when I have decided that I have finished playing with them, there is a sense of victory I feel for their growth. When I began “Who Carries The Water” there was no sense of “Mother” in it. This poem is a part of a series of themes I have been developing recently from my subconscious through my writing. I have been writing plenty of short stories, poems and creative nonfiction that deal with what grief looks like: before, during and after, death: either literal or metaphorical, missing someone or something: either to be found or never found and I have been writing a lot about mothers recently. I did not realize that I was rewriting these themes over and over again until all of my works were laid out in front of me. I believe it’s very interesting how mysterious the writing process can be. We think we are so conscious of our every move until we look deeper and find that there is an entire world we are unaware of in our own work.
Before I wrote “I Was Born in Spring” I had just left Starbucks with my dirty chai in hand and it was down pouring. I didn’t have an umbrella. On most occasions, rain makes me feel a forced kind of sadness, but on this morning I felt particularly joyful and rain was gathering on the top of my coffee lid. Our emotional state has so much say in how we perceive the world. That morning I felt the rain was a blessing and maybe even magical. Perhaps, I thought it had the ability to make my drink taste sweeter. The whole world appeared sweeter. I was feeling reborn that morning.