SPOTLIGHT: ‘Not Sorry’ by Vicki Iorio

Die on Mars

In the steam of a Hampton’s night,

when humidity clings like a silk slip to the windshield

I joy ride Elon’s Tesla.

The roads at the end of Suffolk County

are not paper doll flat

but curved like a witch’s spine

and the Tesla hugs them in a midnight tango.

Someday the Boring Company, will build tunnels—

a silent boring and only Teslas will be licensed

to motor the underground and pop up in Connecticut.

There will be extra lanes and traffic

jams will not be allowed— car Camelot.

But for now,

with the stars in Space X as my navigators

I only drive when most of the world

sleeps. It is not the man in the wolf moon

that romances me but the faceless

astronaut in a musky red Tesla

grooving to dead David Bowie

on his way to Mars.

Bobsie Showed Me How to Insert a Tampax

Her father was the head of psychiatry at Pilgrim State

he approved lobotomies while he ordered lunch

She shouted out directions to me

through the closed bathroom door

When the tampax slid in, and stayed in place

it was a summer vacation victory

Never again did I have to smell dried blood

in my kotexed soaked underwear

Bobsie was a college girl

the next summer she came home with a baby

She never told me how she got that baby

but she did show me how to insert a thermometer

to measure ovulation

My first birth control

Sorry, Not Sorry

Define muscle memory—

Expect a beating

List the things in your medicine cabinet:

Advil, betadine cream, peroxide

ace bandages, Xanax.

Define apology—

Body, I am sorry for the damage done,

the bruise tattoos, the broken things

that cannot be fixed.

Mea Culpa, I beat my chest

savaged by bites and burns.

Do you like being a martyr?

The question my therapist asks me.

Sometimes I stain her checks with my blood.

How do you plead?

Innocent in the court of popular opinion.

Define muscle memory—

My hands remember what to do with a gun.

What I Am Thankful For

Thank you for not killing me. Black and blue turns a rainbow of gangrenous greens.

And thank me for not killing you. A house without a gun does not a crime scene make.

Thank movie theaters and their darkness—cinematic religion; the popcorn, my communion

wafers and thanks to my car, a safe spot for screaming. Thank the makers of Xanax and thank Death for taking you sooner than later.

She stuffed

      the insurance check in the front pocket of her tight jeans,

took the car that didn’t melt, that was hot, but started.

She scooped up her daughter and her daughter’s bunny—

charred on one side, black and pink.

The house is the burning end of a cigarette. She floors

 the ignition, the night smells of fire. She does not believe

 she will ever lose that smell, it has nested in her hair,

 her nostrils, her sinus, even her daughter smells like fire.

The insurance check is a fire in her pocket.

She has never seen that much money in a check

made out to her. He is coming around tomorrow to reclaim

the check. She will shower after she puts one hundred miles

between her and her destruction. She will stop driving

when she quits smoking, dye her hair and her daughter’s

pink like the bunny.

Waiting for my Xanax Script to be Filled

Parked in the CVS lot

in unairconditioned July

I fold into the steering wheel and scream

A priest appears at my window

asks if I’m alright

yes, I’m good

I sit up and put my hands at ten and two

He disappears into a cloud

and I start keening

but this time with the radio on

He would have bought me bottled water

a pack of chewing gum

rode shotgun without a seat belt

prayed for my lost soul

if I had unloaded my shit to him

A for effort Padre

you trusted my good


I forgive you for believing me

To Matzah

You are to eat matzah

-Exodus 12:18

Biblical broadsheet —

unleavened flat piece of dough lacking the pride of rising,

humble puckered squares nourish this non-religious life.

Cottage cheese and cling peaches on your flat skin

(my mother eats this religiously for lunch) the only food

I keep down after a ride on the virus roller coaster.

No matzah brie for I-matzah purist-shredded mozzarella,

generic tomato sauce slathered on your body, toaster-oven

baked, after school comfort.

My lover places a matzah

with cheese and pepperoni on my belly après sex

he declares himself a Portnoy without complaint.

Egg Matzah, exclusive to Passover should only be eaten

by the elderly, the infirm and children. With a childish glee

I hoard this eggy hardness and eat it year-round.

Once in a California supermarket

I asked a bagger where I could find matzah,

he told me they don’t carry Jew food.

I am preparing for the day

when matzah will be shaped into communion

wafers, hidden in catacombs swallowed fast.


2 thoughts on “SPOTLIGHT: ‘Not Sorry’ by Vicki Iorio”

  1. Beautiful poems, from Vicki! And my books just arrived! I’m so excited! Again! Many many many thanks, Red! Love, Mindy

    Sent from my iPhone



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