Gail DiMaggio

The Sisters
by Gail C. DiMaggio

The one with silver eyes came to me

in the basement playroom, my mother upstairs

singing to the baby. Learn, the angel said,

the uses of loneliness, and wherever

her wings touched the wall, the old house

wept. Later, someone ceased to love me

so I gave my cheek to the gritty skin

of the sidewalk. Men leaned over me.

Are you lost? Are you drunk? and then the Sister

with ruby eyes walked through them

whispering, You will drink Jasmine tea

on December mornings. But when

the intravenous lines pierced my husband’s arm,

the visitor had black eyes, no whites at all, and her icy kiss

seared my forehead. This death

belongs to him, she said. Let go.

Riddlers, I named them.

The Angels of Afterward. In dreams

they come singing: Ashes. Ashes. We all

fall down. August dusk, and the one

with my mother’s silver eyes instructs me. Set the table. Set

the table—green apples and crisp

brown bread. Wait

by the open door.


Published in Cider Press Review, Volume 19, Issue 3.

Gail DiMaggioGail C. DiMaggio watched her husband play jazz in a world where no artist ever gives up a day gig. She has refused to become discouraged. Her work has appeared recently in Salamander, Slipstream, Tishman Review, ELJ, White Stag. Her full length book, Woman Prime, won the 2017 Permafrost Poetry Prize and will be published in 2018 by Alaska University Press.

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