Two poems from Anna Scotti’s Bewildered by All This Broken Sky
followed by a note on the author
Then Fall Again
Orange, gold, crunch, crisp. Apples cut in clean crescents, burnt marshmallow, smoke
caught in the folds of our jackets, in our hair. Luminaria pumpkins like ambassadors of
the season, a mustache drawn with scorched cork, then a pilgrim’s hat of black and white.
Cranberries bright as blood, a cold drift from beneath the door. Crackle of ice. Spring,
finally: silly to think all this could end, when everything is bursting! Buds furled tight
along the branch, wet and new, a girl’s soft hair, hard-soled shoes, rain against the pane
and the smell of cut grass, loam and soil and sod, blossoms on the sidewalk, petals on our
shoulders and days to spend, days to waste, hours sifted through our fingers like spilled
sugar from the bowl. Then summer’s small fruits, hard and sour, hot sidewalk, hot forehead, hot
breath of August at the window and still no way to warm you, huddled at
the heater, stifling wool and cups of tea and soup and steam, sour sweater, stinking socks,
tissues knotted on the floor and all the ways we meant to say goodbye forgotten, no ferry
now to Coronado, no starlit swim at Mazatlan. Nothing matters but to make you warm.
Then fall again: orange, gold, crunch, crisp, bones and stones and broken brown leaves.
One without you, then all the rest the same.
When I Could Still Be Seen
I once brushed by a man in a blue cotton shirt
and he sighed in wordless longing and reached
as if to catch me. I pretended then to be invisible,
as I truly am now, pushing my hair into silken masses
then letting it go, letting it go.
Before I disappeared, there was a party
where I poured grand cru, teasing other women’s
husbands ‘till they were silly with delight;
there were turquoise boxes tied up with pale ribbon,
and a ramshackle hut on a cliff at Big Sur,
drenched in moonlight. A clumsy hand traced silvered
shadows along my naked hip, before I vanished
like fragrance, like fog. There were armloads of scarlet roses,
and orchids like furled moths, a black spangled
dress, and glossy chocolates from Geary Street,
when I could still be seen. A man draped a web
of coruscating stones against my throat
and lingered on the pulse, fingers thickened
with desire. This cloak of night,
this umbral shield, were not my first magic.
Once I held a boy against my breasts as he raged,
and released him, gentled like an old dog,
that grateful. When men could still see me,
I tapped nails like painted shells against
a compact of mother of pearl, I felt the hot
stroke of eyes against my taut skin,
when I could still be seen.
Then Fall Again was first published in The New Yorker, September 24, 2018;
When I Could Still Be Seen was first published in Nimrod International Journal of Poetry and Prose, November, 2018, where it won an honorable mention for the Pablo Neruda Prize.
Anna Scotti’s poetry and prose have been widely recognized with honors and publication from a diversity of literary journals. She has contributed poems to The New Yorker since 2016 and her work has recently appeared in Nimrod, Sequestrum, and The New Guard. Anna’s first young adult novel, Big and Bad, has just been released by Texas Review Press, and her short fiction appears regularly in Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine. A former journalist writing for national magazines, Anna now teaches at a French international school in Los Angeles. Learn more at www.annakscotti.com.