Every Hour Hurts in Fall


By now, you have adjusted to time’s addition, waking

without alarm, your body’s sudden jolt of electricity—


your toes and fingers wiggle—eyelids flip open to stare

at the ceiling’s cold.  You’re still here.  Isn’t that crazy?


You want to get moving before you hold still, before

you find yourself between the flight of day & dream.

You deserve a promotion, getting this far with-

out falling in that miss-step that’s waiting for you.


The staircase, chilly and dark, creaks in your descent

to the rooms that spell living.  Something survives


here, something wild and unmanageable; something

that sings not to fix anything. This is as it should be.


Bits of apple skin and core tossed in last night’s fire

still smell of paradise. You open the woodstove’s door


to stir embers that glow with that mysterious light

that touches your face— like this—close your eyes.


Hungry Now for Sweeter Fare


What do I see when I stop to look at everything? That pause before

hurry, before heading in the direction of the unforeseen—the accidental

meeting in the market’s aisle 8, or on a sidewalk where an easy hello

takes a sudden turn to scrutiny: “Why are you wearing that hat?”





Out of the blue, noon’s searing light blinds me. My lack of words

weighs heavy on my tongue. I can’t explain the obvious, not here,

not today, not any longer. I walk away. You do,too.





So what. I think I have to work on my hunched posture. Chin

up, chin up, I hear my mother’s voice & feel her fingertips

between my shoulder blades. Memory’s slight pressure & heat

is just enough to set me straight— I cut a figure in wide glass

doors.  My hat looks like a bathing cap. I’m swimming up-

stream.  A student opens the door for me without judgment.

He knows what I know. He wears a hat, too. We both nod hello.

M.J. Iuppa  is the Director of the Visual and Performing Arts Minor Program and Lecturer in Creative Writing at St. John Fisher College; and since 2000 to present, is a part time lecturer in Creative Writing at The College at Brockport. Since 1986, she has been a teaching artist, working with students, K-12, in Rochester, NY, and surrounding area. Most recently, she was awarded the New York State Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Adjunct Teaching, 2017. She has four full length poetry collections, This Thirst (Kelsay Books, 2017), Small Worlds Floating (2016) as well as Within Reach (2010) both from Cherry Grove Collections; Night Traveler (Foothills Publishing, 2003); and 5 chapbooks. She lives on a small farm in Hamlin NY. Connect with her at mjiuppa.blogspot.com.

featured image by kouichi_zen