Having My Cards Read

By W. S. Di Piero b. 1945
Hobos wail a garbage can against
the cyclone links. The monkey puzzle tree
droops its scaly tails above our heads
as she sets up near the zoo’s bonobos,
humping happy in their cages close
to chimps ripping off each other’s ears.
And in the cloud reposing on the sky,
cut by an F22’s long hookah puffs,
the cyan atmospherics rupture into
solarized platelets: her Ray-Bans foil
my own face back at me:
                                  A time of renewals
            though somewhere
                         dark cold woe
                                   You won’t know what’s what
Comes a taste of sea to make her pause,
and marine gusts slice and spook her cards, my cards,
that flurry to the sidewalk, near the barred gate,
breaking fortune down faster as she speaks.

Source: Poetry (June 2009).


This poem originally appeared in the June 2009 issue of Poetry magazine

June 2009
 W. S. Di Piero


W.S. Di Piero was born in 1945 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and earned degrees from St. Joseph’s College and San Francisco State College. A poet, essayist, art critic, and translator, Di Piero has taught at institutions such as Northwestern University, Louisiana State University, and Stanford, where he is professor emeritus of English and on faculty in the prestigious Stegner Poetry Workshop. Elected to the American Academy of . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Living, Time & Brevity, Nature, Social Commentaries, Popular Culture, Cities & Urban Life

POET’S REGION U.S., Mid-Atlantic

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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