March 26, 2014

Two Poems by M.J. Iuppa

Who Knows the Answer? 

Certain friendships bring daffodils,
others, tulips.  Yours, a fistful of 

red—tight-lipped as I place them
in chilly tap water.

We sit loosely around the kitchen table,
like flowers in an accidental arrangement;

heads bent listening to stories we always
knew to be true.

Memory becomes a dream—our youth
foolishly spent — a grief that blooms  

in the forgetfulness of the hour . . .
Still, we’re here— blinking hard at

winter’s blank stare— not wanting  to say
what we miss is all who have left us. 

And so on

Clapboard houses scattered on this hushed countryside were
raised within the short distance of the road rising and falling
into the Alleghenies.  There isn’t a name for this road but people
 say it’s God’s country.  The leaves are turning shades of umber or
is it ochre? No, it’s the color of faraway, even though some refer
to it as being just down the road.  It’s the place where you end up
stopping and looking around, which is the mistake most of us make.
You can hear a soothing waterfalls and there is an abandoned paint-
blistered church with worn gray steps, inviting you to cross the gate
into paradise. Someone is expecting you . . .

M. J. Iuppa lives on a small farm near the shores of Lake Ontario.  Her most recent poems have appeared in Poetry EastThe Chariton ReviewTar River PoetryBluelineThe Prose Poem Project, and The Centrifugal Eye, among other publications.  Her most recent poetry chapbook is As the Crow Flies (Foothills Publishing, 2008), and her second full-length collection is Within Reach (Cherry Grove Collections, 2010).  Between Worlds, a prose chapbook, was published by Foothills Publishing in May 2013.  She is Writer-in-Residence and Director of the Visual and Performing Arts Minor program at St. John Fisher College in Rochester, New York. 


  1. Dear M.J.,
    Thank you for your thoughtful and thought-provoking poems. They always ask me for a second read. I always find more.

    Mary Jo Balistreri

  2. Thank you, Jo, for your kind words. I feel the same about your poems too.

  3. lovely touch of sadness and nostalgia in 'Who Knows the Answer'....Bob

    1. Thanks, Bob. Inspired by an actual event. An old friend came to visit us in January.
      His plan was to place flowers on my brother-in-law's grave up on the hill. I'm from a generation where our families of origin had many children and you could be friends with the top five children and responsible for the last five. This is the case here. We all ran in great gangs of siblings, and in many ways, we became part of each other's family. So when we get together, even if it's been several years, the conversations begin where we left off.