Christina Marrocco


It’s dawn when I spot her breaching like a sleek dolphin

bottled behind the windshield of his gleaming black pickup

her black hair streaming as if underwater. 

And, my god, you aren’t really expected to put

that much energy into it, are you?

Maybe I should kick gravel and let her know I’m there

but she’s all that busy ass and hips curved into an upside-down U

over a man flat as quicksand, invisible but for his

Dunkin Donuts cup flopping pink-orange across the dash

like some lesser fish.

Golfers waddle just beyond chain-link fencing,

and I wonder if my daughter’s proton radiation might work

wonder how it’s different from regular radiation

plan to look that up when I get home,

plan to get lost on the Mayo Clinic website again.

I wonder, too, if the black-haired young woman

is a prostitute


his nasty sister-in-law

I’ve been watching

too many British Crime series these days, running  

to devour large horrors with quick solutions.

I keep walking along the parking lot’s edge, unable

to turn off the thinking parts of myself,  thinking

about how we are all—every single one of us—

too near the freight tracks that cut through Wing Park,

cut like a long chisel path outward to the prairie,

an edge edge where once and not so long ago

a different girl-woman offered herself

before the train

and the train took her

leaving a permanent gasp in the air

I walk until I stand before the crosses her friends pounded 

into the gravel like I might stand before 

Etruscan sculptures at the Art Institute of Chicago.

They tilt now 

but the kids still come, leaving plastic bottles

nothing alcoholic, 

just soft drinks, sugary things, blue and lavender

at this, the place where she left 

her family, her cashier job at the Jewel,

her courses mid semester, writing mid-draft.

Dozens and dozens of bottles lay down, labels peeling 

contents heating in the sunshine, wanting to boil.

It’s under an oak budding

I am able to stop my walking,

present myself the full delusion of spring’s return,

everything I want to hear:

the big puppy biting and tugging her leash cheer me 

the blow job back there behind me was young love,

the doctors at Northwestern’s Sarcoma Center know what they’re doing.

Christina Marrocco is the author of Addio, Love Monster—a novel told in story released June 1, 2022 with OVUNQUE SIAMO PRESS . Her poetry appears in Ovunque Siamo, The Laurel Review, Silver Birch Press, Red Fern Press, Home Mountain Review, and Voices from the Attic. She is a professor of English at Elgin Community College, Elgin, Illinois where she teaches Creative Writing and other courses.