John Casquarelli


It never really felt like home.

There was a large Pontiac in

the driveway. I don’t remember

the model. I was young and spent

a good part of my days staring at

the bare branches next to the cement

and brick wall by the Sears Warehouse.

There was no glitter raining from

a friendly hand. Search for the comet,

make a wish, one day I’ll ride

a dragonfly to galaxies, above the tears,

weeds, and the time she ran over

my kitten, never noticing that my heart

could shatter so easily with each breath

in the hot Fort Lauderdale summer.

Friendship and Atari were distractions

from sweat and alcohol. Occasionally,

I’d walk to Chris’ apartment, counting

bird droppings along the way. This was

likely the closest I’d get to South Florida

snow. Rows of lawn chairs and auto shops

lined avenues and boulevards. I hoped for

an alchemist who never came. Tin cans,

bottle caps, baseball cards, palm trees,

and a clergyman committed to memory.

Objects in a child’s teacup on a wooden

beam. Gravity can be a strong oppositional

force to the imagination. Some days, I chased

daydreams, hoping to illuminate. I quit my

first job because the Summer Olympics

was more important. I felt a strong impulse

to watch the sprinters jump hurdles, to run,

to keep running, and to eventually run with

and past them at light speed, leaving

everyone and 16th Street behind.


(now)here / nowhere

Tomorrow is an electric song

craving the moon above the

temple of spring. Though we

may have touched grief, your

white blouse, torn jeans, and

silhouette ruffled the robin’s

feathers, reminded me how

charming assumptions could

be in the silence of Chronos,

with promises of silk sheets and

long journeys. The microcosms

and misplaced opportunities

reinforce habits that we’d

rather keep for now, because

there’s no better reason to

make potatoes into vodka.

Constellations hover on the

velvet ocean, darkened theatre.

We’ll snack on leftovers

between stoplights, coughing

up our childhood in staccato,

shameless on the mountain

roads, illuminating in-between

thunder and ecstasy. I will be

the eagle perched in your nest.

I will be the air caressing your

inner thigh. I will be the

rising tide surging forward,

embracing the horizon.



John Casquarelli is the author of two full-length collections: On Equilibrium of Song (Overpass Books, 2011) and Lavender (Authorspress, 2014). He received his MFA in Creative Writing at Long Island University—Brooklyn and is a Lecturer at Koc University in Istanbul. John was awarded the 2016 Kafka Residency Prize in Hostka, Czech Republic and a 2017 residency at the Writer’s Room of The Betsy Hotel on South Beach. His poems have appeared in numerous journals and anthologies.