I Remember

Written by Charlene V. Martoni
Published by Collective Unrest

I wore brown boots that night.

I remember ice cubes clanking
In one burnt-umber glass
Clutched inside your grasp

I remember street lamps shining
On the soaked sidewalk
Stained with soil

I remember knee-high socks,
Toes toward the ceiling
Legs spread, and your face

I remember asking how
I remember saying no

I remember.
I wore brown boots that night.

© Charlene V. Martoni, all rights reserved

A Letter to my Body, Reborn

Written by Charlene V. Martoni

Dear Body,

Of stardust-chaos, 
You are sparkling
In webs purple-blue and
Pin-pricked, 
Frizzy-haired, 
Knock-kneed,
Bruised, and battered—
Ablaze.

You
Are splintered-wood bones, 
Smoke-hazy eyes,
And burning-ember nerves. 
Sunshine, Fire Bird,
From pain your wings birth
Strength.

When snuffed, we blaze back
Crackling, and sparking 
Rainbow flames.
A cobra slides 
Down our belly
Dancing.

Though you are not perfect (nothing is perfect), 
You are mine, and I love you.
Through you I roam
The world,
If only for this moment
In you.

© Charlene V. Martoni, all rights reserved

Momma

Written by Charlene V. Martoni

She reaches 
Her arm across your chest 
So you don’t fall 
Forward.

She is lost but
You feel found, surrounded
By the deep early-darkness
Of the late-fall evening.

“When evening falls so hard,
I will comfort you,”

She sings 
Along. You are 
In love
With the song, with 
Your mom.

She amazes
You.

“Sail on silver girl, 
All your dreams are on their way.”

The velvety cloth-covered seat
Feels damp on your dream-dewy skin
As she looks at you and smiles. 
It is the first time in your life

She was ready 
For you to sit up front
In the passenger seat,
Next to her on this journey.

*Quoted lines are from Simon and Garfunkel’s 
“Bridge Over Troubled Water”

© Charlene V. Martoni, all rights reserved

Sonnet 2: Dusk ’till Dawn

Written by Charlene V. Martoni

Since our awakening,
The circular cycle of day and night
Has been marked by the rise and set of sun
And moon: the presence or absence of light.

We trust what we see, and so we follow
Revolving embers in the sky, but we
Do have four other senses that can grow
And fade with the pattern of stir and sleep.

You can choose to abide by another
Sensation to regulate days and ground
Your routine.  I rotate wake and slumber
Through the sensation and cadence of sounds.

For in mornings I hear tiny birds tweet,
And in evenings, crickets sing me to sleep.

© Charlene V. Martoni, all rights reserved

Sonnet 1: Orange Turnpike

Written by Charlene V. Martoni

Cars are creatures with no patience,
The way they tend to zip past fast with no
Interest in lives within, no intentions
Toward taking time to see the faces—no.

It’s easy to get locked in speeding cars,
Caught in life’s lonesome traffic.  We rush past
The eyes we should want to pierce through, stare far
Into.  But through this window’s frame, at last,

Lights roll slow over us.  I lay my mind
On the chest of a boy I once loved—now
A man—whose soft, smoke-soaked breath tucks behind
My ear, and whose chin sets upon my brow.

Beneath crisp sheets, in an old attic high
Above the street, we rest as cars drive by.

© Charlene V. Martoni, all rights reserved