The 2River View 21.1 (Fall 2016)

Ja’net Danielo



I am blood—fennel and mint-spiced,
a tired line of arthritic fingers, strained
eyes. I am cold Brooklyn nights,
apartment houses, frosted front windows
facing the El. I am curses, spells,
bowlfuls of oil and salt, a language gasping
near-dead, soft Cs and Ps, clipped vowels
lodged deep in the back of my throat.
I am broken baptisms, dark spirits
who fed like leeches on a priest’s missing
words, slithered their way into bedrooms.
I am rosaries, rosemary, saint statuettes.
I am needle and thread.
I stitch coats for ghosts out of poems.


Once, there was no word
for blue. To aborigines,
the sea was green
like cypress, like so many
species of locust.
And the moon
was the face of a clock
set in a forest night.

So what is the word
for us?  For the sky
when it opens itself up
to the gold flash
of a bird, to the black
silhouette of a palm
frond? For that moment,
after so many moons,
when two people are culled
from their far, dark
corners of woods
to a pinpoint
on this grid of earth?

What do I call it—
this place we inhabit?
After roaming that terrain
of root and smoke,
to arrive, our feet
caked in dirt, eyes
full of green—
to the flash of the gold bird,
that piece of flame
in a blue sky?

Ja'net Danielo is an Assistant Professor of English at Cerritos College, where she teaches creative writing and composition. Her poems have appeared in The Cortland Review, Red Rock Review, SOFTBLOW, and elsewhere. Danielo lives in Long Beach, California, with her husband and her dog. contact

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