The Memory Floor · Jennifer Martelli
12×18, printed on 100% recycled linen paper.
Signed limited edition of 10.
Set in Mrs. Eaves.
Archive-quality glassine envelope included.
I remember the day I stopped believing in God: October, past noon, on the Lynnway, the ocean behind the burnt-out nightclubs, the lots, behind Building 19. I was stopped in traffic, in a line of red brake lights in front of West Lynn Creamery. A milk truck – white with red letters – parked on the brick dairy’s roof, odd as a ship in a bottle: did a milkman drive it up there? Did they disassemble the truck first? Was it hollow? I thought of my friend Pete, who hadn’t shot dope over a decade, who hadn’t fished the Grand Banks in years, who died one morning in a woman’s arms. It was dawn, she said, he woke up gasping and then he was gone. My mother would live one more twilight year, my father intubated another week. Life is scary and we scare so easily. Who would design it this way? I said it out loud, I don’t believe in God. I don’t believe in a plan. I went back to wondering why this good real estate by the ocean wasn’t developed into a prettier place: houses with windows that blinded you when the sun rose over Nahant. A pier. A breaker of huge gray granite rocks leading to a lighthouse. My father couldn’t accept his dying. We’d sit in his hospital room, me in the chair or on the foot of his bed until he finally wrote, I want out now, why don’t you go. My mother could still smile and nod, at the home across town on the memory floor. Justice would have taken them first, before the tubes and straps, before my friend who left the way a dream leaves once you open your eyes. That day by the creamery, the world was turning toward Halloween. I think it was cold already. I do forget if I’d left the cosmos to die in their pots. If the geese had formed themselves into arrowheads, pointing away.
About the Author
Jennifer Martelli is the author of My Tarantella (Bordighera Press), awarded an Honorable Mention from the Italian-American Studies Association, selected as a 2019 “Must Read” by the Massachusetts Center for the Book, and named as a finalist for the Housatonic Book Award. Her chapbook, After Bird, was the winner of the Grey Book Press open reading, 2016. Her work has appeared or will appear in Verse Daily, Iron Horse Review (winner, Photo Finish contest), The Sycamore Review, and POETRY. Jennifer Martelli has twice received grants from the Massachusetts Cultural Council Grant for her poetry. She is co-poetry editor for Mom Egg Review and co-curates the Italian-American Writers Series. jennmartelli.com