John Bonanni 

John Bonanni

Abecedarians with Consonants Who Have Left First the Party and Then Their Bodies

All this time, you thought the driftwood 
expanded with the heat of a beach fire? 
I told you it would soon be ash, an ember 
of our existence as we threw a Frisbee 
under each other’s legs on a beach on Fire Island. 
You lost it in the dunes. Now go find it. 

Away from the key rattle of an office, 
exiled from a bathroom, a school, a hospital  
into you I return like the scratch on a vinyl, 
our favorite song, little Freddie, little Bowie, 
under the pressure of a kiln melting glass blown:    
You are blown & that is safer. 

Acquiescence to this stigmata keeps its blood pouring 
endlessly into a carafe set in the center of a table 
I set a leaf into yesterday. Today is the party. Today we  
offer a chalice spilling its crimson into the air 
under a chandelier that his fingers keep dimming 
yes dimming as I strain to make this toast into your eyes 

& you raising yours too, the way a ghost leaves its body 
extended just above the chest—and 
isn’t that just it? The rising, I mean. The way it moves 
out & then in. But more out. Then 

JOHN BONANNI is a Cape Cod-based writer who founded the Cape Cod Poetry Review in 2011. A Best New Poets, Pushcart, and Best of the Net nominee, his poems have appeared in Foglifter, North American Review, Prairie Schooner, Hobart, and Gulf Coast, among others. His book reviews have appeared in DIAGRAM, Tupelo Quarterly, and the Kenyon Review. His research on poetry as an intervention for writing attitudes among learners with severe disabilities can be found in The Graduate Review (Bridgewater State University).  

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