Three Poems
Darin Ciccotelli


Our lives no longer feel
attared. The grand pronouncements
feel fine, like how discs of blood
disperse themselves throughout

the body, like how the bloodworm
swells to move. I accept the life.
I accept belatedness.

Then rain comes on without trajectory.
It is simply crowds. On the car, silver enamel.
In one sentence, the automobile festoons
toward certain

death and is freed from it, the miss,
the child’s backseat fright,

That night, absently flossing one’s teeth close
to the mirror, this mouth all skull.

Temple, bungalow, the merchandise
of ships beside trees—
most confusing still are the
conditions for attraction.
I don’t know if I want it, the sun
lice-infested. The lime in her burgeoning thought.

What should come but some pulsing
validation, hands bright with chickenfat
or when behind her ear you
place two honeysuckles,
which noiselessly break in her next action. They have to.

I have no subscription. I am not
privy to facts. Libraries exist but for the perfumery,
the water stain on each page,
blurblack corsages.

And the sun. And the solder.
With what confidence have I shut it all out?
The day ignorant of its needle—
it pullulates that chance venom, for which
not knowing

is our only answer. Then to face wind,
the pauper afternoon. Eventually,
all work is drenched in forgiveness.


When you finally admit
you’re broken, it is the dragonfly
that assumes control. Your
hands like tungsten, favorable
to some otherworldly charge
that is the dragonfly’s will, liquid,
flinching. Unless I am mistaken
it is the dragonfly that
pilots the machine, spasming
jaws. When it seals itself off
in some endocrine room
it is a conspiracy. You thought you
could control the narrative,
the song-heavy days, midspring
occasioned with a
neighbor’s cigarette smoke.
Control is all our problem—
the fence it surrounds you
with is commonplace, muzzling
the years into a simple plea.
Dragonfly, it is only the
dragonfly that has this
fundamental urge. Blood and tinsel,
how can you predict when it
will make itself known?
The gyroscope buzzing inside,
a case for indecisions, drinking
rum, the angry cadences
you take on in speaking
to lovers. The dragonfly stares out
of you like the office building
that dreams of being icicle.
Until some hint comes over the
loudspeaker, we are
not listening, not even the dragonfly.
Fear silvering the human hum.
Its proposition simple
as a rosebud.


Katya is twenty-four.
She lives in
the nondescript city
of Russia. What she
predicates herself on is
girlish, excessively
polite. Her syntax like a
candelabra. I saw
your structure,
she says.

The air is forcibly
diminished by your not being
there. Olive trees are
not enough.
Birds smelling like a

are not enough. Like rain,
the mystique will come
with jagged phrasings—
how she was trained in
gymnastics, how the
place where people fall
in love is called
a disco. The word cheerful
is more cheerful
if misspelled.

Russia was built for you.
An obvious plunge
established the
city. You dance together,
never looking at one
another. Red eyes,
like in a

The empty knocking
like a whale’s prehistoric
tusks. This Katya knows
in the moment you
call for her, Katya
has already disappeared.

Darin Ciccotelli has recently published work in BOMB Magazine, Denver Quarterly, Fence, Hayden’s Ferry Review, and Subtropics. He currently teaches at Soka University of America.