An Offering
by C. Delia Scarpitti

They say that when it rains
their desks are flooded with wet poems
so, I’ll avoid the sucking sound of my shoes
on sopping sidewalks—
It is obvious, like a mother’s love,
clichéd and unwanted and broken (besides).

I will not tell of the colors of this fall,
even though they burst against the sky
—these stalwart trees—who survived
the bleached summer grass
the damned refusal of one drop of rain.
They, too, have all been said before—
All been seen before.
Their leaves and their images pressed
onto the page by far steadier hands than mine.

I can say that it hurts,
this reborn death—this renewed loss of the season—
but, cannot claim it cuts me deeply
cannot offer my whole heart to this—
beating and bleeding across this line
it has all been used before
and it lacks context (anyway).

So, consider this a scrawled sacrifice
to the gods of things now passed.
I have met you.
I have loved you.
But, the trees are still crimson,
And you are still lost.

by C. Delia Scarpitti

We swallowed great mouthfuls of brown river
Drinking—drinking—those shining flakes in.
No one said not to
We wouldn’t have listened

Our ears—deaf as conch shells—repeating
the ocean—the water always warm
Or that’s how I remember it
My mind silty with the details
and downstream . . . the intangible liquid of memory . . .
Of ripples.

Nothing is clear anymore
I know that we laughed—Its echo still
I know that you climbed in my bed on nights with no moon
Afraid of our parents
Asking if they were killing each other

I know that I hushed you—I had no answer—
Let you rest beside me
That was all I could give and I am sorry
It wasn’t enough.

Here, the run gets deeper
The undertow—violent—
You are a man and I watch you part the tides
at will—You are steady—despite my weakness
(Drifts) to Sea
with no map or guiding Star.

I gladly soak up this stagnant flood
You have forgotten the dampness
Of my young hand,


C. Delia Scarpitti is a writer, book reviewer, editor, and poet.  Her
poetry, fiction, essays, interviews, and reviews have appeared in a
variety of online and print publications, including
Mothering Magazine,
The We’Moon Anthology: 2006, SageWoman Magazine, Literary
Mama Magazine
, Mamazine, Mom Writer’s Literary Magazine,
Natural Family Magazine, where she served as the reviews editor
until the magazine’s recent hiatus.  Scarpitti lives with her husband and
their three young children in a little white house with a tree swing in the
front yard where she writes her novel, dreams of poetry, and maintains
her website:  

On “An Offering”:  
The poem “An Offering” was born beneath the weight of an
editor’s comment echoing through me one crisp autumn morning
as I settled in for a writing session.  It had been raining for five
days, fallen leaves plastered themselves to the windowpanes, and
the earth undulated in coursing streams and puddles.  Of course,
I wanted to write about it, but a day earlier I had read an editor’s
teasing advice to hold onto rain poems for a few months after a
good storm because his desk would be stacked with others just
like it.  My frustration about whether or not I would ever be able
to say anything new as a writer flared through me.  Add to this the
fact that my older brother died in another saturated fall, instantly
forming my own private writing script and seasonal melancholy,
and the tension compelled me to offer whatever words I could to
give voice to my simultaneous fullness and grief.

On “Liquid Heart”:
When I was a child, my younger brother was my constant
companion and dearest friend.  Like many siblings do, he looked
to me, the older sister, for knowledge, comfort, and a strength I
did not always feel I possessed.  In past writing, I have culled
emotions and images to speak to my childhood conflict between
my deep-seated fears and my resilient façade.  In this poem, I
wanted to confess that I never had the answers to the questions
he needed resolved in those years.  “Liquid Heart” emerged
fully formed from the gravity of memory and a longing to set our
past to rights . . . I gave it as a gift for his birthday.

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Apple Valley Review:
A Journal of Contemporary

ISSN 1931-3888

Volume 2, Number 2
(Fall 2007)

Copyright © 2007
by Leah Browning, Editor.  

All future rights to material
published in the
Valley Review
are retained
by the individual authors
and artists.
Liquid Heart