Gabrielle Campagnano

with Caution, Enter Risk
by Gabrielle Campagnano

The paint had come off the sign in a half-sinister,
half-admirable way, as if to say I have given up
on warnings.

No better invitation had ever hung at the expense
of the mounting dark. And just beyond the sign,
a great globe of beefy light, the water lapping over itself

until it was difficult to tell moon from soot
from something else entirely—
I remember when my father told me

not to go looking for meaning in places
where it didn’t belong. Weather patterns.
The strange constellation of slim ice

On the inside of the bathroom mirror.
When two New Jersey police vehicles
got struck by lightning after weeks of poor press

I was asked to keep my mouth shut
and set the table. Sometimes I would watch my father
watch his garden as though it were entirely out

of his control. The year the 286 pound
Dill’s Atlantic Giant grew from a bird dropping
he would look down at it and speak to his own father
through the cigar in his mouth. And there, father,

the trees around the lake bent inward
at their base as though they could only grow
toward each other. I apologize for how

I stripped down and waded into the water
I couldn’t judge the depth of.
Everything has laid signs for me.
If I squint, they’re in language we both speak.


Published in Cider Press Review, Volume 18, Issue 3.

Gabrielle CampagnanoGabrielle Campagnano is an MFA candidate at Vermont College of Fine Arts and a teacher in New Haven, Conn. Her work has appeared in Tule Review, Salamander Magazine, and The Cossack, among others. She is at work on her first full-length collection of poems.

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