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Anita Dellaria

Anita Dellaria writes poems and practices law in the city of the big shoulders, the city on the make, the city by the lake.  She’s also the Associate Editor of the Tribeca Poetry Review.


Bird Geometry

Three gulls wrestled a triangle
out of a mottled March sky,
then carried it away.

Perhaps they winged it to their store
of shapes, augmenting their cache
already stuffed with V’s—

daring avian explorers
scouting for rare formations:
the parallelogram,

the trapezoid or rhombus.
Unlike dilatory stars
who tempt mythology

and anthropomorphizing,
birds in flight—purists—
prefer geometry.


Cutting a Quaking Aspen

On an October morning, armed
with a pair of orange-handled sheers,
I headed into a city acreage
to learn the name of the tree
with the waxy heart-shaped leaves.
It chattered all summer like a cocktail party,
calibrating with excited regard
the shift of the wind. A blanket of frost
was on the grass, and from a carnage
of vegetation, weeds with velcro grip
caught my shoelaces to hitch a ride
indoors. Yet, the stubbornly green tree
carried on its futile protest.
I bent down a low-hanging limb,
snipped a specimen to see if its branches
alternated, if its simple leaves
were lobed or not, only to find six firm
and glossy unfurled buds storing
in their reticulations the season
for which there would be no gossip.
Within minutes, the cut end hardened,
while the buds, already softening,
oozed the sticky substance of life.


Trading Jupiter

(On the occasion of seeing two former poet laureates in a restaurant)

Two famous poets walked into this restaurant
I told the waiter
who didn’t know how to arrange his surprise
probably thinking how could they be poets and famous
but nevermind

More than anything—
more than the pleasure I’d been having lately
rising before dawn for my rendezvous with Jupiter
who waited for me to appear on my balcony
who didn’t mind my disheveled hair
that I hadn’t yet brushed my teeth
who worked so hard while I slept
traveling across the night sky
out-shining the city lights
chatting with the clean slice of the moon to stave off boredom
who each morning handed me a fresh wand of creation—

More than anything I wanted to approach them
say it was I who loved their poetry so well
who read all their books
each title page
about the type and barcode
every flyleaf
anything not to take my fingers
out of the honey-pots of their imaginations

I wanted this so more than anything
if they invited me to join them for an aperitif
and conversation about line breaks and whatever
but said it would cost me my few remaining mornings with Jupiter
before the alignment went off
I’d’ve given the waiter a see I told you so look
I would have paid it

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