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Wings of Desire by Jeannine Marie Pitas

An angel whispers to readers in the library.
He’s tired of everyone wanting something different.

A trapeze artist dressed as an angel
doesn’t know that real angels are wingless.

I wait for my photo at the machine
and emerge with another face.

This is the world of one-shoed walkers
who shade themselves with borrowed umbrellas,

sign their names with dropped pens,
open doors with lost keys.

Stones come alive. Time can’t heal.
No, time’s the illness.

The first strands of gray hair. An old photo album.
The lost storyteller, lost peace.

A blue ocean, sky. Afternoon coffees.
Cuban cigars. Dragons. A bed.

The world that shrinks to the size of a room.
The choir of young women who come to sing.

The grass tall enough to hide
or make love in.

The deep, fast river you crossed easily
because your beloved was on the other side.

An immortal singer turned organ grinder,
ignored or mocked.

Abandoned railroad tracks. The other side.
The crucifix hanging from the classroom wall.

The plaid uniform your grandmother starched.
Borders. A country with as many states

as there are citizens. Rags pledged to each morning,
folded each afternoon. Shibboleths.

Barbed wire. Private security guards.
The world in color. Sunsets, lonely rooms.

Cherry cough drops. A nurse’s kind face.
Your final bed. The lamp turned off.

About the Poet

Jeannine Marie Pitas
Jeannine Marie Pitas is a teacher, writer and Spanish-English literary translator originally from Buffalo, NY. She now lives in the Pittsburgh area and teaches at St. Vincent College in Latrobe, PA. Pitas is the author of two full length collections of poems, “Things Seen and Unseen” (Mosaic Press, 2019) and “Or/And” (Paraclete Press 2023) in which this poem appears.

She has translated or co-translated ten collections of Spanish language poetry, the most recent of which are “A Sea at Dawn” by Silvia Guerra (co-translated with Jesse Lee Kercheval) published by Eulalia Books and “Memory Rewritten” by Mariella Nigro (also co-translated with Jesse Lee Kercheval) and published by Buffalo-based White Pine Press.

Related Event

  • From 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Monday, June 5th, White Pine Press will present a book launch event for Uruguayan poet, lawyer, and essayist Mariella Nigro’s “Memory Rewritten,” a meditation floating between memoir and philosophical inquiry exploring the ongoing impact of a childhood trauma and the power of poetry to come to terms with loss, even finding beauty in it. The book launch featuring Pitas discussing and reading from the book will be held at Fitz Books and Waffles, 433 Ellicott St. in Buffalo.

About “Poem of the Week”

The “Poem of the Week” feature is curated by literary legacy awardee R.D. Pohl.

R.D. (Bob) Pohl is a poet, writer, editor, and literary and cultural critic based in his hometown of Buffalo, NY. He attended the State University of New York at Buffalo from 1973 to 1981, where he studied language philosophy and philosophy of science with Newton Garver, Charles Lambros, and Peter Hare as an undergraduate, before shifting his attentions to poetry and literature, studying with Lionel Abel, Diane Christian, Robert Creeley, Carl Dennis, Raymond Federman, Leslie Fiedler, and John Logan of the now legendary UB English Department of the late 1970’s as a graduate student.