Natalie Giarratano

So many
that I think are

dead in a ditch
surprise me
with their swirl and shift

of directions
with questionable minnows
that will quietly soak

into the trough of dirt
that remains when
rain takes a long breath,

only to magically
emerge from that ground
when the trough is useful

again. But forget
the minnows and think
about tongues

of frogs snatching
at what they
must think are mosquitoes;

they don’t realize
there’s nothing there,
or that everything

is on a tongue,
or that you and I

curl up in inked-out
places with no water
(no memory),
and breathe
in through our skin
what happens to be there.

Natalie Giarratano is working on a Ph.D. in Creative Writing at Western Michigan University and has poems that have appeared or are forthcoming in American Literary Review, Redactions: Poetry & Poetics, Third Coast, and the Santa Clara Review. She is also Co-Poetry Editor for Third Coast and an assistant editor at New Issues Poetry and Prose. A native Texan, Natalie resides in Michigan with her husband and her dog and cat and regularly mistakes the latter two for children.
“A front porch is just not a front porch without a swing or a rocking chair. And my Cajun grandmother has the best pair of wooden rocking chairs–they are hand-carved by who knows who, but the seats of these chairs, which are made out of stretched cowhide, smooth-side up, are what I remember most; if my mind wandered while rocking on the porch, I would find myself petting the coarse hair of the seat’s bottom. I must have really wanted a pet.”