Emari DiGiorgio

Emari DiGiorgio


In Her Lap, To the World


Once you could send an infant,

under eleven pounds, by post,

trust the carrier to deliver your son–


postage pinned to his little corduroy vest–

to your sister, eighty miles away. It wasn’t

legal long. I don’t know if I’d prefer


my child to carry a house on her back,

to bite when a hand’s too near, or make

a new nest each season. I’m always asking her


to be me and not me, which is what a child is

anyway. Today, everything is soaked.

If I had to make a fire, I’d fail, but I live


with the privilege of not needing to conjure

flame. As I listen to the music of the pond,

I’m sure if I slowed down, I’d know from where


that frog bellows. I might see the whole Earth

breathe. Tell me how to line the path from here

to there with enough obstacles to not wear down


my child when I already know sorrow’s great

root is expectation. My friend says you cannot

spoil a child because love cannot cause rot.


I’m hoping she’s right, will surrender to this axiom

because I want to be enough. When it’s all cloud

should we warn of the storm or let our children name


the few patches of blush and sapphire sky?

Besides this moment, what else can I not replace?


What Lies Beyond Rescue


Spent rocket stages, paint flakes

and frozen coolant in Earth’s low orbit.

Ed White’s lost glove gathering speed.


An eye that’s scratched beyond repair.

The thing that’s gone too far past

a sink’s drain hatch, though a friend


retrieved his son’s stuffed humpback

who’d fallen in the open sewer cap.

Cake that’s slide from plate, rhomboid


icing floor. Maybe I’d serve a slice

cut from its untouched upper half,

perfectly formed and free of dust and fur.


The rest: scraps for worms. Sometimes

when a car’s totaled, it’ll still run, bent

axle and dripping fuel, unsalvageable vessel–


a body swollen with tumor–

the mind clicks on

bright human whirling to life.

Ode to Afterthought


What might have been useful before

especially if money or concrete or surgery


was involved. Dry wood after the fire’s snuffed out.

Some conditional. A salve to ease word’s burn.


The tribe of retaliation, upright on horses

just crossing the stream, moving with the seasons.


When I think, whole continents can collide

or unstick in the brain. But what’s beyond?


The thing that sets off flares, when some mouth

wedged between my ribs says Go, now.


Thought rides in on its horse. Or it’s a foot soldier.

Sometimes my flag bearer makes it to the next leg


of the journey, builds the Trojan horse, the idea

of Helen, the catapult. Was ego or victory so loud


it drowned out my voice, yours, which of us said,

I don’t know about this?

Twist & Shout


The song and dance

of my dead aunt’s

mustard yellow

generation. Before

free love before

the cult swallowed

her whole. A wholesome

girl grinning a half grin–

holding something back, in.

Her hair almost auburn

from the film’s fade.

Was it Easter? That hat

and dress. Not the most

flattering shot

of my grandmother’s

eldest daughter,

but a moment

when first born was still

untouched, safe, home.

What a nightmare

to need to hire a PI

to find your missing girl,

even if she was the rebel,

who spat and cursed

a cerulean streak, filled

the sky with soot.

After the Ed Sullivan Show

swarming females

nearly collapsed the band’s

car roof. Finally,

all of those bodies

unleashed, free from father’s

chains and gaze, apron

strings, Mary Janes.

The straight shot

from kitchen to altar

altered. Who didn’t expect

to get hurt in the fall?

In Praise of the Bodily World


You’d laugh ungrounded

in the open parking lot,

eyes sparking, and I knew

better than to touch you.


Better to wait for the eclipse,

observe my shadow tonight.

Forgive me for being drawn

to the flesh of your lips,


to wanting to hold more

than your voice in my head.

This is the time of year

I remember you most.


It’s easy to fall in love with autumn

in autumn. I make no mistake

of the warmth of another body.

I wanted that and more.


You were never mine, but I

don’t believe I’m paying off

a debt for something in another life.

What a tidy little lie. The day


the towers fell, I ran five miles

in the time it took both planes

to taxi, takeoff and upend my world.

When I arrived on campus,


I watched the TV outside the cafeteria

replay the second crash.

The sunflowers tilting their heads

to the sun turned to look at you.


There are no answers. Only genetically

modified seeds. A remote

with no pause, the volume jammed up.

I remember you best


in the season of your death.

How many hours we wasted

together. I’m mourning you here

before the eclipse. We cannot


escape this bodily world alive. Of all

the men I’ve loved, I loved you

beyond the flesh. Once on the trail

you and I used to walk, I went


alone and crossed an eight-point buck.

When we locked eyes, I recognized

a mutual fear. Nothing magical about

a deer on the path just my desire


for it to be. My wanting to be close

enough to the Earth to not

disrupt it, to read its signs right,

to have those we love love us back.


Emari DiGiorgio is the author of Girl Torpedo (Agape, 2018), the winner of the 2017 Numinous Orison, Luminous Origin Literary Award, and The Things a Body Might Become (Five Oaks Press, 2017). She’s the recipient of the Auburn Witness Poetry Prize, the Ellen La Forge Poetry Prize, the Elinor Benedict Poetry Prize, RHINO’s Founder’s Prize, the Woodrow Hall Top Shelf Award, and a poetry fellowship from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts. She’s received residencies from the Vermont Studio Center, Sundress Academy of the Arts, and Rivendell Writers’ Colony. She teaches at Stockton University, is a Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation Poet, and hosts World Above, a monthly reading series in Atlantic City, NJ.