Poems from Mistress by Chet’la Sebree


As a tampon bouquets in toilet water,

I think of Bellovedere—a wine I tried

on a Wednesday along with an Italian

man’s mouth, full of English.

I don’t know what reminds me of this.

Perhaps the red, perhaps

that bello da vedere means beautiful to see,

and I understand beauty

is always a train leaving the station, understand that

I’m always worried I’ll be moments too late,

as the poly-blend slurries out its braided restraints.

Something about my language on his tongue

as he discusses Montepulciano,

reminds me of a baby I may never see,

as the soaked cotton continues its unraveling.

Abito in Ravenna

You live “in” countries and continents;

you live “a Ravenna,” cities and towns,

the gruff Florentine corrects me,

tongue doing a pirouette.

I murmur vorresti rigatoni all’arrabiata

under my breath to feel the heft

of the words roll around, but