Maria Berardi, “Triptych”

Chain Letter

If this letter has reached you, welcome to the Land of the Fucked. Anything may befall you at any time. No one here gets out alive. To attempt to change your luck, pay the idiot tax and buy a lottery ticket. With your earnings, buy three books of stamps. Berries are good, or flowers, or famous baseball players. Copy out, by hand, this letter, and send it to thirty-six friends and acquaintances. You must personally tongue each stamp. This will not change your luck, and they will not believe this anyway. You will never be safe. Your life is a beach ball balanced on a precipice. Within three week’s time, approximately 1% of the persons to whom you send this letter will discern its real promise. (You will have joy. That is the dividend of the lottery, the interest on the idiot’s tax. Payable only to the receiver of this letter. Remember: the Land of the Fucked is the Kingdom of Heaven.) Your life is a beach ball balanced on a precipice. But what bright colors.


We went to a bonfire with our friend the doctor, a bonfire far out of the city on a farm. We were all there at the request of the family of her former patient, who was former because he was dead at eight from leukemia. The blaze scorched bare dirt and autumn sky like another creation banging its way into existence. Our six-month-old’s eyes were agog and brilliant. We went to visit the cows in their stalls; a mother breathed a warm cloud on her calf, who was all liquid and velvet, and who made a low sound that was all stomach. My nursling burrowed into me and started to suckle the impossibility of this place into which he’d been born, all fire and hunger and outlying darkness. I walked the perimeter and rejoined the group. We drove to Johnson’s Corner’s truck stop and ate chicken-fried steak and gravy and potatoes, silent, delicious, sacrament; and drank coffee, to stay alert for the long drive home.

 Why There Aren’t as Many Happy Poems

Because poetry is a conduit between itchy reality and the possible. A grimoire of grief, a desk reference to the unbelievably true. A tesseract, it exists in the field of simultaneity; it leapfrogs, bi-locates and reconciles the world to itself, so that it is acceptable for a time: death, illusion, the fault-lines of love. (We have music, we have oils oozing pigment, and the brief perfection of the body to manifest happiness.) Yet when a happy poem is born, it is true, yellow goldfish copper themselves over to poppies. A breeze seizes toddlers and bears them briefly aloft. The peaches ripen themselves to jam. And sometimes a small cloudburst blesses the air, another prayer.

Maria Berardi‘s work has appeared in local  and national magazines and online.”Triptych” is included in her forthcoming first book, Cassandra Gifts (Turkey Buzzard Press). Maria lives in the Colorado Front Range  foothills with her family, at precisely 8,888 feet above sea level.



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