January 1-7, 2024: Poetry from Salvatore Difalco and Ali Black

Send us your poetry. Click here for submission guidelines.

Salvatore Difalco

Salvatore Difalco is a Sicilian Canadian poet and author currently residing in Toronto.

The following work is Copyright © 2024, and owned by Salvatore Difalco and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Delicate Brushwork

Embark on the mundane
without eyeglasses correcting
the blurred edges and blinking
light effects that you experience
after two hundred milligrams.
Later, complain to the guy
Craig with the pinball machines
that he lives in a dream.

Drive the Ferrari off a cliff, Craig,
off the Scarborough Bluffs.
The ear reddens at sounds
only Mara the dog hears.
We can begin the game, boys.
Deal the cards, Arnie,
pour the whiskeys and prime
the mechanical monkey drum.


Mad in B Minor

There in the field the glass shield
resonates to the church organ pumped
over malfunctioning speakers,
the reverb silencing the landscape plenty.

Words imply thought like notes describe
that sepulchral tune. Point to the star
on your forehead and talk about your
transition to music from rhetoric.

Hands over eyes
cover an interior expanse more
present than the laughing stream
and the birds driving the sky around.

A man flying a crimson kite
against the chalked blue resents
the notion of time passing and wishes
another hypothesis rose to explain.

He runs with music in his mind,
deep black clefs and sharps and flats
but we can’t see his face and he can’t
see us hiding in between his notes.

Ali Black

Ali Black is a writer from Cleveland, Ohio. She is the author of If It Heals At All (Jacar Press, 2020). Her writing has appeared in Gulf Coast, The Adroit Journal, jubilat, The Rumpus, and elsewhere.

The following work is Copyright © 2024, and owned by Ali Black and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.


my mother alive listening to Meg Thee Stallion.
Could I get her to call it “real hot girl shit?”
I mean, my mother was a savage.
I’ve heard the stories about her beating up boys
and dominating on tennis courts.
If my mother was alive,
I’d try to convince her to listen
to Meg. First, I’d play “Body”
and show her all the lyrics.
I’d say, Ma, Meg is really just celebrating
our curves and waists.
I’d say, it’s how I gain my confidence.
And she’d look at me and say,
Now see, for that, I love me some Meg.


A Friend Wanted to Go Shopping for Bras

and Ma, I took her to Dillard’s
because you said the key to buying
a good bra is making the investment
so I warned her and said, now
Dillard’s ain’t Target and I told her
about the sales associates and how they
be tryna make a sale so they greet you fast
and get close and sometimes they touch
your shoulders to adjust the bra straps,
or they touch your back to unhook the bra,
and I told her she gotta let them do their job,
and can you believe she tried to convince 
the woman helping us that she was a B cup
but the woman told her she was actually a DD
and she didn’t believe the woman until
the woman told her to try the bra on
and once she tried it on and it fit perfectly
she told the woman to bring her the same bra
in every color; mauve, black and beige.


When My Father-in-law Died

I read the resolution
and my husband gave the eulogy.
We shot pool at the repast
and took shots of cognac. I thought
about Quan and prayed for death
to let up on us.
For three days straight, people
brought us pans of fried chicken
and sweet Hawaiian rolls.
We never ate any of it.
I thought about asking my grandmother
how to help my grieving husband
and then remembered my grandmother
is gone, so I had to rely on instincts—
cook a meal. Hold him close.

Subscribe to our weekly Newsletter: