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Contemporary Italian American Writing

MARIA FAMA: POEMS

I CRY ALL THE TIME | IN LOVE WITH THE LAUNDRY

Maria Fama is the author of three books of poetry. Her work appears in numerous publications and has been anthologized. Fama has read her poetry in many cities across the country, read one of her stories on National Public Radio, and co-founded a video production company. Her poems have won prizes. In 1998 her poem "6:35 AM" was a finalist in the Allen Ginsberg Poetry Awards. Maria Fama is proud of her Sicilian heritage. She lives and works in Philadelphia.

I CRY ALL THE TIME

I cry all the time
  over photos of my father
  the fine stitched dish towels of my grandmother
  over catalogues of coffee makers
  and small boys walking spotted dogs

 I cry at the gym and the opera
  at the ballgame and church

 I weep over homeless persons in tattered blankets
  horse drawn tourist carriages
  girls jumping rope
  neighbors chatting

I cry over Mozart and marching bands
  the smell of rain and lemons
  a street musician's lonely sax
  the taste of fresh figs

I cry at the planet Venus in the morning sky
  the orange moon on an August night

I weep at the open air market
  over melons and peaches
  the bright sight of tomatoes
  a brave crab's sidewalk escape

I cry over children toting teddy bears
  the feel of iron pots and paperback books
  the plight of chickens, pigs, cows
  pictures beamed from Rwanda, Bosnia, Mars

I cry at weddings, funerals, bookstore openings

I cry over mean spirited governments
  racism, poverty, sickness

I cry over clearest blue skies
  lovers holding hands
  newborns, sunshine

I cry all the time
  at flowers, faces, voices
  elephants, tigers
  sweet basil, dill

I cry all the time

I cannot tell
  if I am sad, happy
  or just middle aged.

IN LOVE WITH THE LAUNDRY

She had
  Wind and Sun in a city yard
  Clouds in strips against the blue
  a face and hands
  to hang the empty dears who
  belonged in warm light
  sighing like fresh bread rising
  smelling of damp morning mountains and seashells

She was blown among the sheets
  in love with the laundry

She sucked on clothespins
  savoring their hardness
  their forest fragrance

  They know the ropes

She could only guess at the intimacies of
  the clean white jockey shorts
  innocent and forgetful on the line

She hugged the breezy unstuffed shirts
  their dangling arms around her neck
  and those pants
  how they danced.

Copyright © by Maria Fama. All rights reserved.

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