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.

Discussing Elephant Puppets the Night of the Refugee Ban

Elephant puppets so big ten men can fit under their pipe bodies
and manipulate four fat limbs and a trunk: gray veils mimicking a
                pachydermic funeral

and lapis lazuli eyes, big as a bruise on a thigh.

We talk about them over an olive sampler at Mia Casa—
little bistro tucked into the clapboard block between a bar and a bar—

cobblestones, leaded windows, paned—

there’s that uncanny dip, that sweet valley of something that looks
like something else: deep eyes, big as the loaf on the plate, big as a hole

in the middle of a nation.

This is not my house.
We talk about the mammoth elephant puppets,

how they seem to dance but it’s men
running under the articulated pipes and the sheer veils.

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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