Domenica Martinello: one poem


my ex     once lived
in a house     later dubbed
the “chattel ranch”

it wasn’t     a ranch
when he lived there     though
his six starving roommates padlocked
their rooms     & the one

female roommate     padded around
marking their doors     in trickster
ink     drew dicks

& epithets     to humiliate
them each time she got
drunk     she cocked her     sharpie
to stave off the     already gathering

smell     of hay

each room     a     padlocked
stanza     where the word     blue
hasn’t been invented yet

ulysses made our bed
bought     the frame for cheap
it seemed     important to have

to take     the long journey
to ikea with

existing out of time          eyes an
indescribable yes of light  no language
                                              or warning for it

back at the ranch     the furies
provoke     slaughter

on the suitors
sliding down     the halls
barding     post-monogamous     joie de vivre

epic stores of beer     like swine
won’t     mix
wine with water     or wait
for a yes

yes hasn’t been
invented yet

hello!     my name is:
hard-     to-     translate
my doglike face
hounds men     to make
collect calls
home     to their moms

boys will be boys
at the ranch
& launch a thousand ships
on your face

damn that’s one busy

one version goes           you’re safe
one version goes           you’re safe if
                                          you sleep     in an ink-marked doorway

smudged with hot girlish smoke       you can smell
her breath raging
oxen-like,     they say

the bedframe’s in all the movies
sleep     & dream
a quiet     art
department’s     budget

be recognized     forever
in cheap plainness
or die a bitch’s death
in complex glory the floor

each has     olive tree
growing     through it
not immovable,     no
but laborious then to     extrapolate

Domenica Martinello, from Montréal, Quebec, is completing an MFA in poetry at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. In 2017 she was a finalist for the Bronwen Wallace Award for Emerging Writers and the winner of the 3Macs prize. Her debut collection of poems, All Day I Dream About Sirens, is forthcoming from Coach House Books in Spring 2019.