Three Poems by Dorothy DiRienzi

It’s a Small World, Yada Yada

Don’t sweat the small things, he told me,
but he didn’t tell me what that meant:
where I put my glasses? or that receipt?

All my meds, each in its little cubby hole for the day,
and now even one for each hour.
(But where is the cubby-hole holder?)

I forget to eat. Or that I already have.
And that damned little phone was only
just there.

Am I sweating yet?

Once upon a time
I never forgot
how to build a schedule
or to keep it—in my department
where 15 people answered to me,
sometimes sweating.
Were they small?
Was I?

I was an editor; worked with language.
Now words just flit away,
like a house finch
when I pass the feeder. That
I know is small. Ha! if only ‘skeeters fled.
(But maybe they are too small?)

“You’d forget your head if . . . .” What?
I can’t remember!

So many things forgotten.
So little time to find them.

I feel so small.

“Let be”

I am angry:
You can.
I cannot.
You have.
I do not.

Sometimes I hate you.
Sometimes I hate me.

Want is a beast in me.
It beats at my brain,
pushes the pistons of my heart
into overdrive—

to drive over you,
over me.

Is there, Horatio, more
on your earth
than in my heaven?

Mutant Day

It’s a mutant day this Phoenix May:
mid-eighties, pale blue sky,
a few clouds scudding over to Kansas
to toss some cows around.

In 50s Philly this was
May Procession time: starched
crinolines pricking my calves,
chin high as we chant Ave Marias,
Sister Georgiana keeping time.

She told us we were lower
than worms in God’s eye.

As if fat Father Kelly, panting
under the corbelled arch,
would be welcome
in Christ’santeroom, nose and cheeks flush
with drink. He told Mom
she’d burn like us—
waiting for summer to slam down
its grill cover—if she shut out
babies from her womb.

As if he knew.

As if we don’t simmer enough now.

Dorothy DiRienzi has been a writer of poetry and essays for over 50 years, an editor and indexer of medical textbooks for 38 years, and of policy and procedure manuals for 15 years. She has published in numerous literary journals and lives in Phoenix with her son, Cesare, and her puppy, Carina.