Monday, April 12, 2021

Venial, 1972 by Michelle Reale

The weather never goes out of fashion. We were not born to be nimble. My mother's pink curlers gripped her scalp with an imperative. The curl, she knew, would eventually fall, the acid rain a blunt instrument aimed at our vanity. We were guilty of so many things, but precipitation was not one of them. I existed within the aerosol mist of Aqua Net, my penance for the way I contorted all of my waking dreams. The clouds could have spelled any year. The dark circles under my mother's eyes spoke a transgressive silence. I covered my ears. The bra that pinched, white and blameless hung on the line like an idea gone wrong. The cigarette in the ashtray crossed the boundaries of the feminine, but stayed within the margins exclusive of meteorological classifications. I could tell something of the crying on too many days of relentless sunshine, if only someone would have the temerity to ask.

Michelle Reale is the author of Season of Subtraction (Bordighera Press, 2019) and In the Blink of a Mottled Eye (Kelsay Books, 2020) and the forthcoming Blood Memory: Prose Poems (Idea Press). She is the Founding and Managing Editor of Ovunque Siamo: New Italian-American Writing.

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