The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: My Tarantella by Jennifer Martelli

This selection, chosen by Managing Editor Krista Cox, is from My Tarantella by Jennifer Martelli, released by Bordighera Press in 2018.

Artichoke Heart

And another of my mother’s lies was the prize
dug from the heart of the artichoke.

And the heart of the artichoke was a dilated cervix.
And the dilated cervix was a single choke-fringed eye.

The eye was the stigma
of the plant protected by thorny leaves and stamen.

I scraped the meaty pith
at the torn-off tips with my milk teeth.

She told me to dip the meat of the leaves in butter: warm, silken.
She said eat all the way to the inside: there was a prize.

But it was soft, the heart, and I imagined
a small plastic baby doll, tiny as my own girl thumb

lying unclothed
on the blue-green velvet.

Jennifer Martelli (she, her, hers) is the author of My Tarantella (Bordighera Press), awarded an Honorable Mention from the Italian-American Studies Association, selected as a 2019 “Must Read” by the Massachusetts Center for the Book, and named as a finalist for the Housatonic Book Award. She is also the author of After Bird, winner of the Grey Book Press open reading, 2016, In the Year of Ferraro (Nixes Mate Press, 2020) and The Queen of Queens, forthcoming in 2022 from Bordighera Press. Her work will appear or has appeared in The Tahoma Literary Review, Thrush, Cream City Review, Verse Daily, Iron Horse Review (winner, Photo Finish contest), and Poetry. Jennifer Martelli has twice received grants from the Massachusetts Cultural Council for her poetry. She is co-poetry editor for Mom Egg Review.


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