“Picture of a Man with a Broken Heart” by Robert Viscusi

Robert Viscusi

PICTURE OF A MAN WITH A BROKEN HEART

In English we say Padua; in Italian, Padova.
In Italian, Basilica di Sant’Antonio; in English, Church of Saint Anthony.
Around the tomb of Saint Anthony in Padua stands an altar.
Around that altar people have left pictures of their parts.
“Saint Anthony healed my arm, and here is a silver arm.”
Hammered silver arms hang at all angles, thousands of them.
The cloister museum has hundreds of feet, eyeballs, knees.
Sant’Antonio di Padova, finder of lost things, also heals the sick.
Padova is the seat of an ancient school of medicine.
Many paintings record accidents miraculously survived.
Ex voto. Because of a vow. Each piece records a vow.
“In gratitude for healing my heart, I send this picture.”
Some paintings are of children restored to happiness.
There is a plaster cast of two hands.
People send their wedding rings.
Nothing is too small for Saint Anthony.
He will help you find your glasses, if they are what you need.
The picture is at the end of a corridor.
The man is painted looking straight ahead at the viewer.
Above him the heart, whole and aglow.
These rooms have skylights.
A row of silver hearts frames the painting.
In late afternoon silver is golden.
With his left hand, the man is pointing to the old heart.
It lies broken into huge humps of stone.
Artists call this gesture The Confession.
With his right hand the man points to the new heart.
Its red gold aureole distills the afternoon light.
Artists call this gesture The Vow.
Many of the paintings have Saint Anthony in them.
Others seem to be looking at him as if he were standing inside you.
“Thank you for healing me,” they say. “Thank you for finding my glasses.”

from Rattle #20, Winter 2003
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“Tamara” by Troy Jollimore

Troy Jollimore

TAMARA

Years from now he’ll remember the months he spent
trying to unlock a lock of her hair
and how, when she kissed him, he felt like a poem
being translated from one language into another.

from Rattle #43, Spring 2014
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Troy Jollimore was featured in an interview in this issue. Read the full conversation at Rattle.com next Monday, September 29th.



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“Hooters” by Jackleen Holton

Jackleen Holton

HOOTERS

I’m at Hooters, you tell me when I call, and I make you repeat it because I’m sure that I misheard. But on your third attempt, I catch the word. Oh, Hooters, I say, and wonder if this is the beginning of the end. And the waitress is there, trying to take your order. Can I call you back? Sure, I say and hang up. Go ahead, ogle her, in her little orange shorts and white tank, pulled tight, those owl eyes bulging. She’s probably flirting with you now, the way they’re trained to do, commenting on your accent, asking you where you’re from. And I know she’s not pretty or even beautiful, but gorgeous, because I knew a guy who worked construction at the franchise before it opened, who watched as the girls came in for their interviews, and there was this one who smiled at him, and he remarked to a co-worker, she’s hot, but the other guy shook his head and said maybe, but she wasn’t Hooters-quality gorgeous. And just after college I met a Hooters girl named Stephanie who was a few years younger than me. And as we sat in the Italian restaurant with our mutual friends, an older man stopped by our table to call her that very word: gorgeous. Envy prickled in me, not because I wanted to work at Hooters, but because I probably wouldn’t make the cut, what with the little bump in the center of my nose, my eyes set a bit too close together, not to mention my cup size too small for their requirements. But that was nearly twenty years ago. Even Stephanie the Hooters girl is now past forty, as are you, sitting there waiting for some terrible food to be delivered as you watch the parade. What’s next, I wonder, strip clubs and lap dances? My old boyfriend Dave had a drawer full of other women’s numbers. Is that where we’re headed? The phone rings. You should come here, you say. It’s such a typical American spectacle. I laugh. I’m good. While shopping at Target, you got hungry. Outside, the first thing you saw was Hooters. Of course, I reply, those big eyes. In college, the opening of the restaurant sparked many a debate in my women’s studies classes about the objectification of the female body. But now I’ve accepted the fact that women will continue to objectify themselves. If anything pisses me off about it anymore, it’s that they’ve co-opted the owl. You tell me you’ll try to come by later. But later you call again, your stomach aching. Too much salt on that chicken breast sandwich. You’re going to bed early. Poor baby. I hope you feel better, I say, and mostly I mean it. I look out the window, thinking of owls, the real kind, like the one I saw last week flying from a dark eucalyptus, over my balcony into the canyon; the sound it made, less of a hoot than a harrowing shriek as it flashed a momentary silver then disappeared into a copse of black trees.

from Rattle #43, Spring 2014
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Jackleen Holton: “I was trying to write a poem for a class I was taking. I think we had five different prompts that week, and I was coming up with nothing. So, to distract myself from the task, I called my boyfriend. From his first sentence, ‘I’m at Hooters,’ the poem sprang forth and, by the end of the evening after he called me back with a stomach ache, it had pretty much written itself.” (website)



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“Ichabod” by Mark D. Hart

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Mark D. Hart

ICHABOD

No telling him
he looks ridiculous.
This banty rooster—
all 8 inches of him—
puffs up and
struts his maleness
dwarfed by the full-sized hens.
Icky’s crow is an
octave too high and it
falters at the end to a
squeak, and we laugh,
but fondly.

from Rattle #43, Spring 2014
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Mark D. Hart: “Our little banty rooster, Ichabod, has been dead for years now, but he remains alive in the treasury of family memories. Writing poetry is a way for me to, if not immortalize, at least prolong the memory and the savor of the joys and sorrows that have made up my life and to share them with others.” (website)



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“The Space Traveler’s Crush” by Benjamin S. Grossberg

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Benjamin S. Grossberg

THE SPACE TRAVELER’S CRUSH

Interestingly, it puns the same
in my language, too. Think
soda cans, think trash compactor,
think an enormous industrial
apparatus that squeezes and stacks
old cars. And how all these shrivel
beside the compaction of a heart
in the twin grinding knuckles
of desire. He wants to tell me
it doesn’t work that way, not
at my age—though he and I
reckon years by different suns,
so he has no idea how old I am,
not really. I want to tell him
I am as old as the wisdom
he hopes for in a lover, as young
as the incarnation of desire:
which must be beyond age, as
beyond gender, beyond species—
a lithe blue flame that manages
to warm even those parts of the body
decades cold. Listen, I tell him,
speaking into the intercom,
my voice moving out beyond
the ship—vector as the crow flies—
I don’t want to compromise
our friendship, but I’m willing to try
if you are. Except I don’t tell him,
and it’s the air vent I’m speaking into,
not the intercom, getting dust bunnies
in my face. Soon we will meet
to hike an asteroid. Then
I will swing by his planet to watch
a flick on his world’s crude
Internet. We’ll sit on his couch,
as we do, and he’ll lean his head
to the side—over a little further, then
a little further, until it seems almost
inevitable that it would float
to a soft landing on my shoulder,
like how you can cut the engines
and let your ship drift those last
few feet before touchdown.

from Rattle #43, Spring 2014
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Benjamin S. Grossberg: “I wrote ‘The Space Traveler’s Crush’ after an evening with a ‘friend’—the last time we socialized—that helped clarify the nature of our relationship. We watched the HBO series Spartacus, and he was mesmerized and exclaiming about the gladiators, but not about me.”
(website)



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