– sonnenizio based on a first line by Molly Peacock

By Jennifer Campbell

And nothing, not even that girl you love

will follow you into that even darkening: old age.

It’s an unreachable, shadowy cupboard that girl

you love, in her flip-flops and youthful distraction,

cannot begin to explore. And she doesn’t even try,

just a feeble grasp at a handle, and then your love –

your affair – doesn’t seem glamorous anymore. Even

the cabinets are bare; no riches, mystery, and nothing

you tell her will make you appear younger, stocked with life.

And nothing, no shiny car or stock portfolio or

even devotion, will keep that girl you love pressed

to your frail side as you become more insubstantial,

a stale cracker or bottle of tonic that’s gone flat.

Even your wife, the one you are supposed to love, knows that.

JENNIFER CAMPBELL will join poet Lisa Wiley Maslow in the next Circleformance Series reading at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Meridian West Gallery, 1209 Hertel Ave. She will also be the featured reader at the next Empire State College Series reading at 7:30 p.m. June 25 at the college’s Appletree campus, 2875 Union Road, Cheektowaga. She is a professor of English at Erie Community College-North and a co-editor of Earth’s Daughters magazine. This is the title poem of her second book of poems published in March by Saddle Road Press. A sonnenizio is a variant form of the sonnet, beginning with a line from a poem by another poet.