Frank De Canio

Issue No. 19 • Spring 2018


When stress becomes a bit too hard to bear,
and feckless friends have left me in the lurch,
resentment so entangles roots of care
that in despair I put on hold the search
for happiness. My tears bestrew the earth,
scorched with the heat of a pitiless sun
that promises no fig leaf of rebirth
from salutary rains till day is done.
So I wait on the night’s benevolence.
And just when Nature’s fecund realm seems dead,
love’s stubborn flower rises up and rends
its leaden shroud. Rearing its prickly head
like a cactus, it caps shimmering strands
with lush mirages on my desert sands.


Out of the shadows of sleep, only one image remains from a procession of others that loomed pregnant with foreboding. I wanted to escape the shutter of the camera a devout Christian girl I knew held before me, poised to have me fixed in celluloid.  As she snapped my picture I winced at its grave finality. I didn’t like the way I looked and asked her for another to weather the tribulations of time. She complied. I wasn’t satisfied with that one either, as I anxiously maneuvered to squirm out of the metaphoric box that opened up before me in  the presence of my enemies. Surely this would shadow me all the days of my strife. She smiled dismissively, as if to say, I could do no better. Rising and oblivious to, my protestations, she moved on with my future impaled in the palm of her hand.