Gina Ferrara

Admit it. Today could be the best moment

you’ve ever had in my concave city—

your downpours, evictions, evacuations,

broken heart and skid marks dissolve

on an afternoon where rust and orange mums

are placed beneath names of the dead.

Here, there are no mounds.

Everyone succumbs to mortar and alabaster.

You become unstuck, acquiescing

to a fluency that flows without language.

The paddle wheel turns percussive

measured as a haiku we push,

pedal beneath the bridge, metal touches metal

and moves brackish jade water

named for a zealot saint.

My red hat keeps slipping from my head.

You steer us back into sunlight

and we marvel at the sight and sound of steel

glinting a rhythm, a recurring dream,

where three ibises rise like hope from flotsam.

Gina Ferrara

The Japanese Magnolia blossoms,

tonight, are the size of cupped hands,

deep enough to hold long vowels

and debris from a shaken sky.

Every blossom on the tree is open

as ears to whispers and family scandal.

My father left his family in unspoken scandal

during the spring when blossoms

would fall and windows were open

for shallow whispers and fluttering hands

that moved like finches in search of sky

and seeds. The doves called to us in vowels

we recognized, the haunting repetition of vowels,

the reason he left, the unspoken scandal,

We mimicked birds beneath a dimming sky.

Thin intrusions, the scent of blossoms,

whispers through a window, fretful hands

holding the shame though it was not open

or discussed.. It was spring. Windows open,

we heard the finches singing long and short vowels,

his decision to leave, out of our hands,

created an unspoken, family scandal

in the wake of pink blossoms

scattered as debris from a shaken sky.

A family scandal not to be bound by sky.

The newly nailed windows would remain unopened

sealing annuals, scents of magnolia blossoms

and silencing the doves and finches singing vowels.

Tired of being a father, he brought the scandal,

and never held finches in his hands.

Tonight, truth is cupped in my hands.

Reasons span the sky

while birds search for the scandal,

they fly from the windows open.

Branches shake the vowels

long and short of Japanese Magnolia blossoms.

Hands fly open.

a sky marked by vowels,

scandals fall with the ease of Japanese Magnolia blossoms.

Gina Ferrara is a fifth generation New Orleanian who is an educator. She received her MFA in Creative Writing from the University of New Orleans. Her chapbook, The Size of Sparrows, was published by Finishing Line Press. Her poems have appeared in numerous journals including Poetry East, The Briar Cliff Review, and Callaloo. She was awarded a grant from The Elizabeth George Foundation and was recently published in The Poetry Ireland Review. She currently coordinates Poetry Buffet, the monthly reading series sponsored by the New Orleans Public Library.

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