Author’s Note: “Perseveration, particularly about a regret, is exhausting. As the poem opens, the speaker, desperate and trapped in her thinking, prays for a life that generations before her lived; a life in which survival means “body labor” throughout her waking hours; a life that might forestall her tendency to ruminate.”
Prayer for Perseveration
Daily, laden skies dense with sleet and snow,
ice-slick cobbled streets, rank with workhorse urine,
fowl hanging in a butcher’s window,
trips to barter baskets, pecks of biffins.
Infant slung in wool, snug against my chest,
fire low back home, hungry mouths to feed,
belly growing big, too much to do to rest,
rising on a shelf, sourdough to knead.
Curds to wash again, pies to fill and bake,
wood to haul inside, cows to milk by dark,
fire to rekindle, evening meal to make,
young to put to bed, willow to debark.
Give me a life of sweat and labor bloody.
Instinct. Necessity. A body. A body.
Catherine DeNunzio’s poems have appeared in a variety of publications, including The Breath of Parted Lips: Voices from The Robert Frost Place, Connecticut River Review, Italian Americana, Marin Poetry Center Anthology, Scapegoat Review, and Waking Up to the Earth: Connecticut Poets in a Time of Global Climate Crisis. Her chapbook, Enough Like Bone to Build On (Antrim House), was released in 2022. Website: www.instagram.com/catherinedenunziopoetry
Delmarva Review is a literary journal with strong local roots in the Delmarva. Editors cull through thousands of submissions annually from beyond local borders to select the most compelling new poetry, fiction, and nonfiction written today. Many are from the region. The review is available in paperback and digital editions from online booksellers and regional specialty bookstores. As a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, support comes from tax-deductible contributions and a grant from Talbot Arts with funds from the Maryland State Arts Council. Website: www.DelmarvaReview.org