Two Poems

Donna Pucciani

Photo Credit: Greger Ravik/Flickr (CC-by)

Landscape, Sorrento

Ages ago, Sorrento
made a pact with the sea:

I give you lemons,
you give me the bay.

Limoncello and cobblestones
coexist with fish and salt.

Citrus soaps and souvenirs
gird the waves yellow

while Vesuvius sleeps
like a beached whale

on an aqua sky,
one eye half-open,

and inside,
lava boiling in its bowels.

For now, a cliffside view of shoreline
and a lemon sorbet.


Less is More

We speak of our aging bodies:
which part has decomposed
most recently. Nursing a bad knee,
hooked up to hearing aids, eyeglasses,
artificial joints, canes and walkers,
wearing marshmallow shoes
and dated woolen caps, we are
comical indeed, drawing derision
from the young.

Bookstores have become museums,
the symphony a sea of gray heads.
Goodbye to radios, the cinema, newspapers,
landlines, and typewriters that clacked
clustered syllables.

So we progress towards death
as our parents and their parents did
before them, falling asleep in favorite chairs,
dawdling instead of walking,
driving cars as old and battered as we,
listening to the obsolete music
of our youth.

The years gather us in like a flock
of geese, at once foolish and determined
to walk in our own webbed waddle
against the traffic and back into
the seasons in which we’ve loved life
far too much for our own good.


Donna Pucciani, a Chicago-based writer, has published poetry worldwide in such journals as Shi Chao Poetry, Poetry Salzburg, Istanbul Literary Review, Gradiva, and Acumen. A seven-time nominee for the Pushcart Prize, her most recent book of poems is Edges. Email: dpucciani[at]

Anniversary Waltz

Beaver’s Pick
Donna Pucciani

Photo Credit: Jenn Vargas/Flickr (CC-by-nc-nd)

November 24, 2016

I’ve always hated
the dark of November, the suddenness
of night at four in the afternoon,
after custom has dictated
the changing of the clocks.

As it happens, we were married
forty years ago this day, while
the world was still light.
The autumn afternoon slanted
our shadows on a leaf-strewn lawn,
colored us through the stained glass
of the university chapel.

We never feared the night,
never even thought of
the blunt forces of darkness.
Now I’ve learned to hold my breath,
awaiting the inky tentacles of time
to squeeze the life out of our
blissful dailiness.

We’ve spent the past in noisy classrooms
of adolescents resisting Chaucer.
What we know now are
four decades of drifted leaves,
friends and cousins falling
in the wind, backlit by a setting sun.
The real pilgrimage begins here,

in our small house silhouetted
against a reddening sky and the arthritic
fingers of surviving trees. Our eyes
tire of the light, perhaps readying
to frame the arc of a harvest moon.
We are a floater in the eye of winter,
its aura reflecting the whiteness
of our breath.


Donna Pucciani, a Chicago-based writer, has published poems on four continents.Her work has been translated into Chinese, Japanese, Italian and German, and has won awards from the National Federation of State Poetry Societies, the Illinois Arts Council, Poetry on the Lake, and others. Her seventh and most recent book of poems is Edges (Purple Flag Press, Chicago). Email: dpucciani[at]