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’s nonfiction has appeared in such publications as Witness, Green Mountains Review, The Common, Briar Cliff Review, Potomac Review, The Evansville Review and Litro (U.K.), and her prose, commissioned by the Guggenheim Museum, was performed in its stillspotting nyc project. Bordighera Press will publish her first book of creative nonfiction, At Home in the New World, in 2018.

Also a poet, Terrone is the author of the collections Eye to Eye; A Secret Room in Fall (McGovern Prize, Ashland Poetry Press); The Bodies We Were Loaned, and a chapbook, American Gothic, Take 2. Magazines including Poetry and Ploughshares and more than 25 anthologies have featured her Pushcart Prize-nominated work. In 2015 she became the poetry editor of the journal Italian Americana.

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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