Sophia Cannizzaro is a perpetual student from Vermont, now living in New York City
and studying at Columbia University. Her work has been published or is forthcoming in
The Wild Word, Isacoustic*, Monstering Magazine, Dialogist, and Metatron Press. She
is a full-time artist in that she fills as much of her time with art as she can, doesn't really
get paid for it, and therefore works odd jobs to pay for things. Her favorite website is
etymonline.com and she can be found at dandelionmaze.wixsite.com/sophialuci or on
for sale: two of my three favorite places in Glover
I was supposed to be in Vermont now. a month ago my brother
told me that my favorite diner was for sale. today my brother told me
that my favorite general store is for sale. it feels like a funeral for an
elderly grandparent. I knew it was coming. but I'm in this big city
where the deli on one corner has all the same things as the deli on
the next corner, and they are all delis and I don't know their names.
I've missed a lot of funerals in the past few years. every time
death happens, the hardest part is the moment where I realize
how far from it I am. the death is in Vermont and I'm in New Orleans,
or the death is in Queens and I'm in Manhattan, or the death is
right across the street but I'm across the street from it and I can't
lift my feet off the ground.
I always think I'm prepared for it but my preparations
involve expecting to be in a room full of people I love,
who would maybe play I'll Fly Away and Just A Closer Walk and
maybe that would make it tolerable, along with the hugs and the
sharing beers with the people I grew up with. my preparations
involve sitting in the pine forest which is the place where death
is safe, my preparations involve swimming in ponds to dilute
my own body, most importantly my preparations involve
going to Currier's general store and buying an Arizona green tea
while I'm waiting for my peanut-butter roll-ups
to finish cooking at the Busy Bee diner so I can sit at the
picnic tables and eavesdrop on local gossip, all of which I have
already heard but am happy to hear again because it reminds me
that my town is full of stupid little dramas that link into a storyline
that keeps it alive.
ramps as an obituary is read
I am grieving a lot these days. at the farmer's market
there are "ramps" everywhere, which I learn is just
the trendy word for wild leeks. I sit in my chair, look at the
"ramps" sign, remember walking in the woods
with him. it must have been May because there were
wild leeks every place we tried to put our feet.
the same day we found that rusty old car and tried
to climb in. in retrospect I don't know how parents
do it. if they only knew what we got up to in those
woods, the things we caught and released,
the bent learning we exchanged about growing up,
bodies and language and all of it.
it starts to rain and the customers flee
to their kitchens to cook "ramps" and fiddleheads,
I take out my phone and decide to close Safari tabs,
which seem never ending until I reach the last one, which
I know is from January 7 because it is his obituary
in the Caledonian Record, which I opened in New Orleans
the day after my birthday, which was January 6, which was
one hundred and thirty eight days ago.
in the trash can: a bouquet of flowers
adorned with a surgical mask.
on the bench behind me: an empty pillow and
blanket the color of surgical masks.
over morningside park there are clouds
and a sky the color of surgical masks.
budding trees like embroidery extend
across harlem, holding the city.
a man in the park below picks up his dog's
shit in a bag the color of surgical masks.
he has a brief conversation about meetings
with the caretaker of the small child
throwing sticks that fell from the budding trees
back in autumn when the sky was the color
of the sky and it was not forbidden to leave
bits of ourselves everywhere we went.
my german professor told the class today
that the smell of a corpse is kind of sweet,
which got me thinking,
i have always wondered why
the blood i bleed each month smells sweet,
because i'm sure that, like my other blood, it would taste metallic in my mouth.
i have not tasted raw mammalian death
so i do not know if it follows this pattern,
perhaps it is salty like oysters or perhaps stark like artichoke.
but anyways, does all blood smell sweet?
i have only smelled my own.
i have never smelled a corpse,
and my german professor has only smelled one (that he tells us of)
so is the smell of death sweet?
these are the types of poetic curiousities that i feel alone in.
imagine me, asking someone else if their blood smells sweet
when it flows out of them?
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