Mary Zeppa

Ai Weiwei and Ai Qing photograph

Ai Weiwei and Ai Qing, 1958, China Heritage

The stars, my son, know nothing

for Ai Weiwei’s father, Ai Qing

though they first say otherwise.
No one else can see the difference.
Your mother’s closed her eyes.
This darkness is unholy and
its jasmine breath is strong.
Beneath the river, secrets swim.
One of them is my name. I can’t
say more. I walk away. The Gods

don’t come around. lt’s not a gift:
this seeing, this serpent in my arms.
Believe I love you and believe
the rhythm comes at last.
The deep lobes of the peonies.
Ah, they have the last laugh.



Edna St. Vincent Millay photograph

Edna St. Vincent Millay, 1937 (AP)

Edna St. Vincent Millay’s Grocery List

Liverwurst, olives,
Scotch, cookies.
A short list
and always the same.
Eugen dead: no one
to stop her. No lovers, no
poems came. With
her syringe of morphine,
she wandered. Bloated and old:

58. With a skin-full of morphine and
whiskey, she ranted to conjure
the days when the sonnets
rained down and the kisses.
When she was in charge,
her hair red.




Mary Zeppa’s poems have appeared in a variety of print and on-line journals, including Perihelion, Switched-on Gutenberg, Zone 3, The New York Quarterly and Permafrost, and in several anthologies. She is the author of two chapbooks, Little Ship of Blessing and The Battered Bride Overture, and the full-length collection My Body Tells Its Own Story.

Zeppa, a singer and lyricist as well as a poet and literary journalist, currently co-hosts Sacramento Poetry Center’s Third Thursdays at the Central Library poetry series. For 20 years, she was one fifth of the a cappella quintet Cherry Fizz.

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