"Diptych Self-Portrait" & Other Poems

Credit: Sofie Praestgaard

Diptych Self-Portrait

In two hours, at some point
in the past, I will be pulled
from an incision made
to my mother's abdomen
and nurses will clean her up,
clean me up, do what they have to do.
Later, the six o’clock news
will show the President Reagan
making his first major speech on AIDS.
That’s the history lesson for the day,
an introduction to queer theory
and throes. Thirty-three years later
I sit in a room of my house
I never know how to name
and write this poem from that name-
less nook. I think of Jennifer Tonge’s
birthday poem: she writes,
My spring is gone.
My spring, too, is gone—
that is, until a teal-tufted bird
breezes by the window and quivers
midair. I watch it flicker like a glitch
and I am lifted from the room
and from my mother and from the sky.
The day is blue again, like birthdays,
like bachelor's button flowers: every feather
and every whisp weightless in flight,
every wish and wonder—
And then I see the blue bird blink.
Both eyes, both wings,
and so, too, the wall clock.

Portrait of Us with Steam

Not every poem needs to be an elegy.
Let us write today about love: lilac love
that whispers down one’s spine,
sudsy soft with sea salt and lavender.
Find vulnerability there,
for what is existence if not vigor?
Call it Portrait of Us with Steam.
Call it molecular movement.
Now breathe in—yes, just like that:
in, in. More. Can you feel it?
The euphoria of a fog-wet world
laced with tea-tree and almond,
each note with the intention
of letting go, of diving in.
Each speck of condensation
cosplaying as a summer day
if not a softening of entire histories.
Each moment with water is revival,
reverence, a poetic retelling
of SS Poseidon as the ship
lifts from the sea. Watch
as it travels upward—
up, up, up—see it dripping now,
a weathered wedge mid-air
where thousands of aubades
are mistaken for raindrops,
collected into cedar buckets,
and later ladled
onto sizzling hot stones.

Compost This Poem

And sign Apple in the place for witness.
In another space: Shining Sun.

Consider mushrooms and microbes,
all the ways we coexist with magic.

Because beyond ever pane of glass
is a garden and beyond every garden

is a sky. Rain falls and continues to fall,
but gently, feather-like.

Clouds share their gradients of salt
and clay. And far off in the distance,

the faint chime of bells carried
like a newborn by the tenacious wind.

Adam Gianforcaro

is a writer living in Wilmington, Delaware. His stories, poems, and essays can be found in Palette Poetry, Okay Donkey, Hobart, HAD, The Cincinnati Review miCRo series, and elsewhere. He was an Honorable Mention in The Maine Review’s 2021 Embody Awards and a winner of Button Poetry’s 2018 Short Form Contest.

All contributions from Adam Gianforcaro

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