Another Beginning

Magenta misses her courier run for three days
in a row, tells her boss she has
a stomach flu. They heard this excuse
before, from her and others

in the same program, and don’t bother to ask
for a doctor’s note, only for her
not to return. She never mentions her neighbor
refused to watch the baby and stopped

dropping off leftovers, the one who let her
down after discovering Magenta’s ex-boyfriend
passed out, again, in the stairwell.
He was on his way to beg for whatever

she had left. She will not let him in
anymore, but never tells him not to
try. While the baby slept, she picked dandelions
and honeysuckle from the park

across the street. They reminded her
of the wildflowers she tied together,
the headbands she and other girls made
in hippie moments around bonfires

as they got wasted. She tosses them
in a bowl with lemon-pepper and melted butter,
tells herself this is a delicacy on an exotic
island where ganja overwhelms

the landscape. The baby cries
from her playpen, tears trailing down her
cheek, a first tooth breaking the gum.
Magenta picks her up, shakes her

like an oversized rattle. She shushes the baby
with a breast, to hold in the curses,
to quiet her nerves before the neighbor
takes it out on the plaster wall.

Copyright © Michael Masrtofrancesco 2004

Appeared in Common Ground

Poetry Sample
Fiction Sample
Still Life
Campfire Girl