Closed For Now

By Maria Terrone

Before my travels, I rip away the magazine label
so no one will see my name, as if this useless 
reflex could protect me. I carry 
a cylinder of Life Savers without irony, a pen, 
and my own hand, skin like parchment ready
to be inked. In the subway arcade 
the barbershop is dark, a scrawled note taped
to its door: Sorry. We are closed Now.

Such gaiety in the faces of the talk show guests, 
gesturing from a flat-screen TV that looms 
above empty enamel chairs. Their soundless 
speech fuels my sudden fear for the owner —
a Buddhist convert, I’ve been told, the one 
who scatters carnations daily at the base
of a scrawny elm nearby. Crescents of black hair
track across the floor like commas in a narrative: 
this and this and then this happened here.

But I don’t know what happened here, and wonder
if “Now” is temporary or forever, a capitalized
moment that will never go beyond itself, and if
the lips will continue to move 
until someone pulls the plug, and if
the message applies to me as I turn aside to descend
more steps that will carry me deeper down.
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About Maria Terrone

Maria Terrone is the author of the poetry collections Eye to Eye (Bordighera Press, 2014); A Secret Room in Fall (McGovern Prize, Ashland Poetry Press) and The Bodies We Were Loaned (The Word Works), as well as a chapbook American Gothic, Take 2 (Finishing Line Press). Her work, which has been published in French and Farsi and nominated four times for a Pushcart Prize, has appeared in magazines including Poetry, Ploughshares, Hudson Review, and Poetry International and in more than 20 anthologies.  She was one of 10 Queens-based authors commissioned by the Guggenheim Museum to write an essay for its performance project, “stillspotting  nyc.”

3 Comments

  1. Clare Carroll
    Posted April 2015 at 11:11 am | Permalink

    Maria, it is Clare from Queens College. Enjoyed your poem. Are you giving readings?
    Best,
    Clare

    • Maria Terrone
      Posted April 2015 at 8:22 am | Permalink

      So lovely to hear from you, Clare. Yes, I’m giving readings. My next one is on Sunday, May 31, 6 pm at the Cornelia Street Cafe on Cornelia Street in Greenwich Village. I’d love to see you if you can make it! Will drop you a line at your QC address.

  2. Nancy Mannion
    Posted May 2015 at 4:09 pm | Permalink

    Maria, Such an incredibly evocative riff on the 74th Street scene. I really loved it.

    Nancy

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