Maria Terrone


Maria Terrone




She was rescued by my brother

from the toy factory fire, lifted

from ashes on the sidewalk

where she lay with a platoon of melted soldiers

and warped pick-up trucks.


She lay in her seamed stockings

and one gooey, high-heeled shoe

under the shriek and slanted light

of the elevated train,

where today men promise chica,

pushing photo cards

into the hands of other men.


I shampooed the cinders

from her smokey blonde hair,

wiped from her face

the smudged tracks of hosed char

that mimicked a woman’s tears.


But her sly smile told me

she’d never cry, even if she could,

despite the trauma of her close escape—

a Scarlet O’Hara

years before I watched the epic

with my high school friends,

wanting to be that kind of survivor,

clueless about the war ahead.



Because each poem is

a loaded grenade

soufflé just out of the oven

stray cur who’s caught your eye

bird touched down on a power line

rope tossed across water

to wherever the cry comes from

toddler unsteady as a drunk

with a knife in his hands

coming straight at you.


Maria Terrone is the author of the poetry collections Eye to Eye (Bordighera Press); A Secret Room in Fall (McGovern Prize, Ashland Poetry Press) and The Bodies We Were Loaned and a chapbook, American Gothic, Take 2. Her work, which has been nominated four times for a Pushcart Prize, has appeared in magazines including Poetry, Ploughshares and The Hudson Review and in more than 25 anthologies. She is the poetry editor of Italian Americana.