Two Poems

by Emari DiGiorgio


The Mother

My last, my least turned most favorite—
though I’ll deny it—because if he’s a devil
or a god, what could he need from me?

Hadn’t I suffered enough, having made
mothering a career, one I didn’t want,
but couldn’t leave alive. To curse him

unborn, body within my body. He was
part of me, my darkest part—child
of my ill intentions. With a soot-stained

heart, he knew how to fish an eye
from the neighbor’s apple-cheeked child.
Son who slipped into night, calling

like some haunted bird tree bound
or the field mouse gripped by death’s
groomsman. Guileless, all sinew, the steep

angle of jaw, a type of jaunt and lean
to him. That night, when he hit me,
bit me, thrashed the room, perhaps

I wanted to believe I could free myself
by giving him up. I’d recognize him
in the face of other boys, in the men

my daughters brought home. A little demon
in them all. Even my own face. Especially
as a young girl when I thought I was brave.


Little Black Dress

Simple frock cut above-the-knee
with shoulder straps at least two-fingers
thick, scoop neck, slight cinch at waist,

fabric that drapes. I’m not going to blame
myself or this dress, its little floral filigree
along the hem. Not a cape to be twirled

in a frat house’s black light to rile the bull,
to make him want blood. That animal
who gored me is a man, not some 1600lb

beast with a banderilla in his back. This
dress is dead. Pull it over my head and we’ll
burst into flame. Instead of a sabre through

his ticker, I want him to eat the evidence
with his hands, a Coney Island dress-eating
contest, stuffing the dry strips of cloth

in his mouth, or dipping them in lemonade,
which turns pink or brown from whatever’s
confined in the fibers. This isn’t a timed

competition. Everyday, he will eat the same
dress. Everyday, he will taste me and what
he did to me. Everyday, he will gag

on the tag, the small band of elastic. His one
meal because he wanted it so bad. Meanwhile
in the precinct basement, all of the clothing

locked up as evidence–jogging shorts, flannel
pajamas, cardigans, scrubs–thrash in a circle
pit, unfurling empty sleeves, so much rage

and shame to stomp, to peel from concrete
floor, to hold up to the room’s caged light.


Photo credit

About Emari DiGiorgio

Emari DiGiorgio’s debut collection The Things a Body Might Become is forthcoming from ELJ Editions. She is the recipient of the 2016 Auburn Witness Poetry Prize Honoring Jake Adam York and has received residencies from the Vermont Studio Center, Sundress Academy for the Arts, and Rivendell Writers’ Colony. She teaches at Stockton University, is a Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation Poet, and hosts World Above, a monthly reading series in Atlantic City, NJ.

Emari DiGiorgio

Emari DiGiorgio is online at