Fall 2010, Volume 9

Poetry by Alice Pero


Yesterday I wasn’t too busy
so I did some housework
I bundled up some uneventful pieces of my childhood
in a kerchief and stuffed them in a drawer
I collected a few motes of happiness that were
floating in the dusty living room
The sun coming in the window made them shine
I put them away without even thinking

Words I had spoken in anger were more difficult to clean up,
I gathered little shards hiding under the sofa
Since we recycle, these had to go out with the bottles and cans
It was harder to collect the puddles of apathy, spilled in dark periods
They were mercurial, like the moments I was truly in love,
(these, polished and framed years ago, hung neatly over the fireplace)
One minute you saw them, the next they had rolled off,
under the bed or in a crack on the closet floor
But I vacuumed them and put them in a box,
to contemplate in a philosophic moment
or to use in an apathetic poem

I admit that I am a pack rat
I save all my mother’s old china
Odd bits and pieces crowd the shelves of my country house,
mismatched cups and saucers, old teapots, platters and bowls
I never have parties and the mice who visit at night eschew my cupboards,
preferring to leave their little brown turds on the wide open counters
Sometimes I leave them tidbits,
the particles of joy I feel when writing a poem,
an old sock, something to nest in.


BIO: Alice Pero is a poet, flutist and teacher of creative writing.  Her poetry has been published or is forthcoming in 13th Moon, The Alembic, North Dakota Quarterly, The Distillery, Lullwater Review, Poet Lore, River Oak Review, The Cape Rock, Fox Cry Review, The Griffin, G.W. Review, Main Street Rag, Quercus Review, Oregon East, The Pikeville Review, Xavier Review, Studio One, Three Mile Harbor, Salonika, San Gabriel Valley Quarterly, Soundings East, Spillway, Sulphur River Literary Review, Word Thursday, Très diverse-city, Albatross, Lummox, Bayou, Carquinez Poetry Review, Cadillac Cicatrix, California Quarterly, Cairn, The Old Red Kimono, and Sanskrit, among others.  Alice has taught creative writing on both coasts and was a creative writing workshop leader for the New York City Ballet Education Department's poetry project for five years, teaching in inner city school of the five boroughs of New York.  Alice is a member of the California Poets in the Schools. She is founder of the popular West Coast reading, Moonday. Kenneth Koch said of her book, Thawed Stars “These poems bring us clarity and surprises.”  Lyn Lifshin said,  "Alice Pero's poems are deliciously open, brimming with leaps, twists and surprises, often joyful and fizzy as a fireworks display."