“She explores and celebrates the quivering, fragile web of relationships that thread together the many-sided meanings of love. Vecchione’s compass of feeling, thought and memory point forever towards ‘the hum and buzz of the inner hive,’ where everything starts out sacred, and stays that way.”
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“Patrice Vecchione’s poems are a wonder…. Her range is astonishing and her words soar….”
— MORTON MARCUS
“Her poems drift seamlessly between the world of the living and of the dead…and we discover that heaven is much nearer than we might suppose.”
“These skillfully crafted poems speak poignantly of loss, warmly to the tenderness… of love and the poet’s joy in nature.”
Read an Excerpt
What Grandmother Wants
She wants me to sign my name to our life.
And I won’t. She wants you to slip
the ring onto my finger, to see the gold
shimmer, to know I will be taken care of.
You should give me the key
to a new car, a house. I won’t do it.
She wants her dinner and her baby-rattle
teeth so she can eat. I have to sing
to hide the horrible sound. And I won’t.
But Baby, put your head here,
on my smooth chest,
on my flat, whispering heart
and I will stroke your black hair,
and then we can make the bed,
while grandmother hangs on to
my voice that she can not hear.
I hold to her life which is three thousand
miles away and as small as the girl
who married her future to the man
from the old country
who’d courted her for two weeks.
And later she said, “Finally, I did love him.”
But she didn’t say when, for how long, or why.
Not a fish or a turtle, the river rat swims.
The brown stone of her body glides
from riverside to riverside.
In her mouth she carries water-grass,
the dry stems that border these banks.
She is building a nest, for this is spring’s
first day, when babies prepare to be born.
On the wood and silver bridge I stand
looking down and across at the green hills,
the pastureland and at my own solitude
that flickers and chimes like a bell within.
For hours the rat continues, swims
across the river, and again, more grass
in her small mouth.
Just beneath the water’s surface
her long tail swirls and the wet fur glistens,
the wake of her effort nearly disappears
each time she reaches the far shore.