Millicent Borges Accardi: Four Poems
Selected by Alexis Rhone Fancher, Poetry Editor
Nothing Inside you but the Wool of your Sorrows
from a line by Frank Gaspar
The nothing inside you sits uncomfortably, like characters in a book, dull components with feelings—or erase that—not feelings since they are last not first as the poet says, they are vessels and sorrow is a weak definition for what the sadness is that is going on inside when you give up, not hope but the capacity for an electrical joy, words bearing individual meaning that you once took to heart, in the heat of a moment, impossible to explain but integrated inside the impossible, there is sorrow and a sadness for the blanched allusion of nothing thoughts you wished were as soft as wool. As if you needed permission to liberate your own limitations? To air them out. No that’s not it either. It is what it isn’t unless you know worse. Not everything they print in the newspapers Is true. this navigating through a living worthy of life, the keeping of an anxious soul even after the dense body and blood are gone. What is it, parry to the universe, that you say we remain only to travel into the next cloth of happiness, the straight hem of the days you spend wandering in place.
An Unsuitable Green
Shade of the color, the pattern of clean fields, verde, edible and charming, and, in a way, happy. You see, the callow nest of life is its newness and hope, along with the promise of yet what is meant to stay. Green is the lack of winter, the end actually of a short story. Green is pleasantly alluring and easygoing. There is kelly and torch song and moss, emerald and sage. What is most needed in the world, perhaps, or what can take us away from what we fear most is green. People eat arugula to feel healthy. There are apples, fresh, new, tart and bitter. The burst of a blast of verão newness in your teeth as you bite down the dense skin is forever permanent. The promises, there, are of a particular happiness, the kind most people don’t want. Green is the opposite of white or black. Drowned in dense color, green is a sphere of false brightness. There is newly-sawed lumber, a sexy dress, cut by a sexy track of old sweat on a working body that is in its prime and undeniable.
Imposing its Rust on Everything
The rain gutters and the sharpness of words, I fear their rust will eat away at whatever was said or offered and so it will always be that way and then I will know it is but a whisper or a spoken phrase that perhaps makes all the difference. Today is Mother’s Day, and I wish for Audrey and her Jameson’s, the yellow polyester dress she wore in the photo where I cut into an adult party of ashtrays and celery, filled with pimentos and cream cheese. I think of choices I have made, and that all of them were, at best, a 50-50 prospect shot. There is no ours unless we are at play. No one person can carry the load. And it was always explained to me that the universe is like a beach ball and when it drops someone lets go.
No Train will take us this Far
There are 8 obscure words for bodily harm and so I collect immorality, venturing for ribbons and pretty, in hope
for the last bastion of a local penny store while classmates, others, saved Juicy Fruit.
My mother offered a short list of wear and tear sundries to buy.
Still, I was drawn to the glass counter near the sun, neck-high. You could see the sidewalk outside. The counter with its basket of rainbow-colored rabbits’ feet. The translucent nails, some with
dried blood. For luck. Other nails shorn or chipped. More, dangerously sharp. I wanted every color. The canary yellow that seeped into the fur, the gamey odor they let off when I held them in my scalding hands near my face, a blue and a green. There was a tan that I used to brush softly so, against my cheek when I heard loud voices, abuse, damage, disservice, I repeated. Luck, yes, that is what I want.
Yes. I knew that was what it was,
shocking and comforting, and I wanted a complete set, never comprehending what I was getting into, the sawed off feet , the strength, sabotage, vandalism, violence, hurt— all the things I wanted.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Millicent Borges Accardi, a Portuguese-American writer, is the author of three poetry collections, including Only More So (Salmon Poetry, Ireland), Injuring Eternity, and Through a Grainy Landscape. Among her awards are fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, Fulbright, CantoMundo, the California Arts Council, Foundation for Contemporary Arts (Covid grant). Yaddo, Fundação Luso-Americana (Portugal), and the Barbara Deming Foundation, "Money for Women." She lives in Topanga, CA.