Salvatore Difalco is a Sicilian Canadian poet currently residing in Toronto.


Poems for morphrog27



Splitting Wood Late Summer



The rhododendrons wept:
I could just hear their plaintive flower cries
as a savage wind drove me back in the house.
I had planned to dry fish on the clothesline.
But the clothesline was trounced.

Meanwhile, Esmerelda
lay under a green pillow, paws to jaw,
eyes half-shut, fangs gleaming. I wanted
to douse her with water. Nothing deserves
to be that unperturbed by the violent world
we live in. Never mind the guns and knives,
Mother Nature wields a jumbo truncheon
and likes to throw her mass around
when it suits her, when the rhododendrons
are in their glory, rising like a choir,
trembling with beauty. Believe me
I was no flower man, I took them up
for therapy—they say my mind departs
or departed, I can’t recall—and spent untold
ticks keeping them up to snuff, picking
them clean of weeds and bugs.
I felt sanguine about myself and it kept
my manic phases to an episode or two.

And now the murderous wind has slain
my rhododendrons and my day: how
seek revenge on blowing hot air?

Spent the rest of the afternoon feeling
the twitch coming on, that thing
inside my head that hitches on to strange
balloons of thought. For instance,
I wanted to dash next door and thrash
the feckless neighbour. He deserved it
for letting his Doberman defecate
on my lawn. I don’t blame the dog,
I blame that cardigan-wearing moron
who lacks the heart to face me like a man.
Perhaps it’s just as well I opted against
violence; my only enemy today is the wind,
ender of my precious rhododendrons,
squelcher of my slender shred of sanity.

© Salvatroe di Falco



Splitting Wood Late Summer

Nothing moved. My arms looked silvery in moonlight.
The axe blade glinted. My heavy breathing softened.
Everything stood still for a long moment—
a sustained resounding fermata, holding, holding.
Then release. Night birds rustled behind
the scene; cats flowed liquidly through shadows,
a distant dog howled at the crescent moon
(if that’s a thing) or a maleficent lurker. So
where exactly shall I place myself at this time?

I’m splitting wood at midnight. Believe it or not.
When I split wood I strike hard, flashing the steel
in the moonlight like an assassin. Thunk thunk.
But what begs expression in the end is how one feels.
I could mention my father, dead when I was twelve,
and the following hell, lacking all joy and sweetness.
Or I could just be billowing the funk I fell into
after he died and my mother lost her fucking mind.

But why bother rehashing pain—we scarcely
recall the hidings and beatings—maybe they
were needed—but we vividly revisit the cross
words and cold looks, the funerals draped
in black and choked with suffocating flowers.
We relive a mother’s mournful swooning
and escape into the grottoes of her grief—
until fresh howling shakes us from our reveries.

Maybe I should start from the beginning. Went out
to split some wood for the fireplace, got caught up
in the moment when everything paused as if
in respect—bowing down to the beautiful stars
and the wondrous moon and the fidgeting life
that strives and dies here. Now I hold out my hand
and stroke the velvety air, as if to tell the night
we’re perfectly cool right now,  battered but alive.

© Salvatore di Falco