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Millicent Borges Accardi: Two Poems

Because this One is Broken

There was a boat, there were many boats,

patterned after a fashion into a fleet.

There were Portuguese widows who prayed

and those who sang of sailors and their strong sea,

amid the sky that we wore like a cape.

There was a yellow radiance of sunset and how

it used to be. Please, ask me, husband, and I will bring

you a cup of Vinho Verde. It is what is done

when there are no answers. It is what we do

and what we have always done. There is a storm

gone blind against the curves of the land

we fall into. Tears over the bow of a ship

ashore, gone at sea for years. We wail and

throw our hands against the blanched wood 

because that is what grief is, a primary feeling 

that must be exposed. Glow, Storm. Blind.

Our men are an assault on we who wait

for them, as they travel to exotic lands,

deciding not to return to a way of life

that left them long before they unpacked

the dry bread in a cotton bag that we

sent along with them on their blessed journeys.

The Most Vertical of Words

The wake inside hides me.

It’s like oppressive family histories

that shape and shame

and disgrace. Whether it happens

in childhood or later, the sting 

of the blur of the bite 

of the belt or the tongue,

the trace of it always

swells into an unmanageable

sorrow, a memory you cannot get

beyond. Many steel walls

go smooth, so you cannot grip 

or hold or even hold onto

while others who should be held

accountable for, are not.

It is what it is and everyone says

that in jest and ill-perceived kindness.

Saudade, the universe has moved

on and given up its brightness

or fought through tremors

with deep fists of physical violence,

or words, but you are trapped

inside an identity you did not imagine

you would be. Outside

of the one area where you belonged,

where no one could question

your authenticity, beliefs and 

no one would dare pull 

the proverbial carpet out

from under your future. That is

what it feels like.

Copyright 2021 Millicent Borges Accardi. From Through a Grainy Landscape by Millicent Borges Accardi (New Meridian Arts, 2021).

Millicent Borges Accardi is a Portuguese-American poet who lives in California. She has received literary fellowships from the NEA and the Fulbright Program. Her books include Only More So (Salmon, 2016).

Millicent Borges Accardi

7 comments on “Millicent Borges Accardi: Two Poems

  1. millb
    September 26, 2022

    Thanks for all of the encouraging comments everyone@! And special thanks to Michael Simms for featuring my work (I am grateful).


  2. Millicent Borges Accardi
    September 26, 2022

    Thanks everyone for the encouraging comments, and thank you, especially, to Michael Simms for featuring my work (I am grateful)–


  3. Sean Sexton
    June 5, 2022

    I very much like your poems

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Katherine
    June 5, 2022

    I like your poetry very much.Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

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This entry was posted on June 5, 2022 by in Poetry, Social Justice and tagged , , , .

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