Clare Rossini

Three Poems
May 16, 2024 Rossini Clare



I gave my mother
her first taste of morphine, a sweetness deep in the mouth,
her brown eyes taking on coronas of blue


as if somewhere behind them, a private sky had begun to open.
Did she let go, Rock?
Or was she lifted away


as I once hoisted you
from your beach, tenderly dried you, then homed you to my desk’s
godless heaven.


So much for me to master now my mother’s body’s gone—
Laughter floating off
the neighbor’s porch.


Azaleas suffering bloom.
And you, Rock—today, as I stared at you on my desk, your round
slowly darkened into her face.





Tell me, Rock, do you think
my mother misses feeling gravity’s sly tug
as she lifted her hand


to brush my cheek?
And would that be enough to lure her back
to sniff her roses,


to feel again the planet’s brow beneath her feet?
It seemed she loved it here.
But what do I know


of the dead, what they miss? I ask you questions,
Rock.  And feel in reply,
the absence that grows


when the last of the afternoon birds goes quiet
and the evening birds
haven’t yet sung.





A seismic cramp.
Then my mother’s muscled orifice
yawned open for the damp hulking round of my head.


I yelped until they lay me on her. Then, left and right,
I suckled her breasts dry.
Trampling grass, pumping out soiled air,


dumping shit into bowls, flushing it to rivers that sour
with bloom: I’m running a big tab,
Rock.  But you—you’re the very model


of spare. Own one gray suit.
Lord over a desktop estate that’s measured in feet.
And somehow manage without hauling


a wounded ego room to room.  Old friend, teach me
to be more Rock-like.  I come to you
holding a candle lit by words.

Clare Rossini has published three books of poems, the first of which won the Akron Poetry Prize.  She recently co-edited an anthology titled The Poetry of Capital (University of Wisconsin, 2020). Her poems have appeared in publications such as Paris Review, The Kenyon Review, The Iowa Review, Plume, and Poetry, as well as in many anthologies, including The Best American Poetry series, in which she’s appeared twice, most recently in 2020.  She has received grants and awards from a variety of organizations, including the State of Connecticut, the Minnesota Arts Board, the Bush Foundation, and the Maxwell Shepherd Foundation; she’s also had residencies at MacDowell Colony, Yaddo, and the American Academy in Rome.