Two Poems



I see him as an easily startled sparrow

and tell him so the second time we meet.

buddy holly glasses, blond crew cut, he plays piano

at a show tune palace late at night, and he

can’t always sleep. his heartbreak he keeps

tuned to minor chords, and yes, his catalog

of torch songs is well-worn, like a poetry

volume someone gave me at fifteen. does it need

to be said I’ve come to town on business?—

that I’m scratching his deaf dog behind the ear

while he pours us drinks in the kitchen,

that he removes his glasses, that I see his skin almost

translucent in the little blue glow through

a half-shaded window.

that this window is in his bedroom. that at 7 AM

I call a cab and catch my flight.

I leave a note that ends I promise you.

does it matter why there are no phone

calls? what disaster wrecks his dress rehearsal

of “send in the clowns”? how it takes three

summers before I find him again

in philadelphia? we close down a martini

bar where they play moody

indie pop. we walk a block, streets shiny,

white with rain, lined with ivy-curtained houses,

a narrow space, hollow and black,

that holds only us and the smell of wet brick.

I wonder if he’s kept my note.

I start to say, I want— when he surrenders,

body limp, he falls, and with

bliss and impatience, lips intent and perfectly

curled to mine, seems to say he’s craved

my tongue, my breath, the end of this long wait,

to kiss me this way, a moment he already chose

as closing scene—skittish, intelligent bird.

his warm neck I let go. he hails a taxi,

slides mutely in, and leaves me at the edge of empty paths

of cobblestone that web across his city.



white cat asleep in a lap of tight pants. in heat,

musk irresistible to males. our bodies know

many ways to lie on a couch. our lips know

many ways to couch a lie. the lover like

a priest, shaded by teakwood, mahogany, lace,

hunches in the dark booth of a confessional.

my teenage self with his pillow rubbed hard

between his legs. a soprano traces a crescendo.

she sings a diamond, sings its flaws. a flawed

diamond lodged in her throat. pearls on velvet

mounted for display as pink as a tongue

or a thumb. his guitar rests like a hand on his hip.

the clock hands make us sense that we are chained.

they also create rhythm. beneath piano

intro, bow and string make innuendo.

violas propose. a cello shrieks refusal.

violin vibrates seduction, whispers dirty

words, spreads its cheeks and thrusts. he dances on thin wire

like flame on the tip of a candle. he dances

faster, pleads for more. insists on finishing first,

piano right behind. applause. applause. applause.

he’s then wiped clean with a rag. a man bites a snake

on the back of its hood. he’s handsome as

a vampire. the wounded snake bites back. who survives?

ANTHONY DIPIETRO is a gay Rhode Island native who worked for 12 years in community-based organizations that addressed issues such as violence, abuse, and income inequality. In 2016, he moved to New York to join Stony Brook University as a candidate for a creative writing MFA and now teaches undergraduate courses. A graduate of Brown University with honors in creative writing, his poems have appeared or are forthcoming in The American Poetry Journal, Assaracus, The Good Men Project, Notre Dame Review, The Southampton Review, The Seventh Wave, and others. He has been a finalist with Coal Hill Review, Naugatuck River Review, and The Tishman Review. His website is