Two Poems with Cut Fig

Detail from Cut Fig, 2020 © Leonor Vulpe Albari


Detail from Cut Fig, 2020 © Leonor Vulpe Albari



Tomato slice, white baladi cheese, rye,
a bite taken from one end,

An ant trudges her burden across the blue countertop.

Ah, if only you’d listened!
Ah, yes, if only I’d listened.

My friend lived her marriage as a mourning.

So without digressing into whether an unfinished sandwich
   is a sandwich not complete
   or a sandwich uneaten

I’ll write a poem for this sandwich,
   this ant and her burden
   our mottled countertop.

A poem, lightwoven, fanciful, a poem flightyearning—

No! A poem lumpy and dull,
   a poem appropriate to this now,
   appropriate to this silence.

This silence.


When at last the sun set
the light refused to leave.
It stayed on, wheedling the night.

Every midsummer it’s the same.
The soup goes cold, flies gather, the fish turns,
some pudding or other quietly bubbles.

They don’t eat a thing, nor do they speak.
Though I know what they’re thinking,
every one of them, in their rotted out heads.

You’re here and I’m not.
You’re here and I’m dust.


Nicola Vulpe’s Insult to the Brain received the Fred Cogswell Award for Excellence in Poetry. His most recent collection is Through the Waspmouth I Drew You.