“To Mourn” by Jessica Venturi

Jessica Venturi


The difference between day and night is
a thick, bold u in the center.

Lips pressed tight together,
and humming.
Tastes like spaghetti
           in October.
Sweet tea in the summer
on a porch that smells
like menthol cigarette smoke.

Our tongue swelling big
in the back of our throat
stops the air
from escaping our chest.
Filling our stomach, filling
our heart with

No. No. No.
It shouldn’t have been. It is
and it shouldn’t be.
N-n-n-o. She is, now she was.
Never. Not. Nowhere. My
mother is gone.

And to grieve moves the mouth

from Rattle #61, Fall 2018
Tribute to First Publication


Jessica Venturi: “I write poetry because I want to make something beautiful out of the suffering. I write for the perfect word—for rhythm and rhyme and the way words feel in my mouth. I write to be heard and I write for the thrill of it. I write because I read. Because literature and poetry are magic. Because when I’m hanging on someone else’s words I feel wonder and yearning all at the same time. I was born and raised in California’s East Bay Area. I earned my BA in English literature from the University of Colorado, after many years of working odd jobs to stay afloat. I am now a graduate student in English at the University of Delaware. I have been a few different things in my life thus far, but there is only one thing I know that I am. I am a writer.”

Rattle Logo