Nature’s Last Green

Nature’s lasted green is brown
with rust and umbrage ‘round.
Her verdant pastures’ youth,
sure of itself, not truth,
turns tan, cut down, then browns,
like dreams of donning crowns.
Just liver spots and grays
are left of salad days.

josie cannella


I thought

I thought I fell in love with you,
but I fell in love
with who
you reminded me of,
someone better than me,
better than we could be,
someone who would not give in
to temptation,
nor break a vow,
like you just now.
Someone who went away
before I could say
that I loved, like I said to you.
But now I know you
are not who
you reminded me of,

Josephine M. Cannella

When My Mother Was Diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease

You become mildly miffed by the sound of
a miscreant mouse nibbling the wires in the walls
at night while you try for some shut-eye,
but when it has a breakthrough
causing short circuits to flicker the clock,
and its kin move in,
nightly gnawing,
burrowing behind the walls,
leaving sesame seed sized scat
in surprising, unnerving spots
(I have to rewash every utensil in the drawer!),
it’s no longer something to ignore,
and the traps you set are fruitlessly refilled and reset
every other day, then every day it seems,
and when one night you have giant mice in your dreams,
eating at your very brain,
and no medicine can make imagined mice go away,
you cry.

Josephine M. Cannella

Christmastime Call

The wires that connect you and me
 carry only words that,
 sometimes empty,
 Platonic conversations
 leave me still in desperation.
 You or I may require the wire
 to carry more than words on particular occasions,
 to carry me through the day.
 We need the fix,
 but nearly every word sticks
 to the roof of the mouth,
 and those three little words
 are said by rote
 over the lump in my throat,
 and maybe even through your teeth.
 Still, I hang my wreath
 upon the door
 and hope for more
 next time.


Josie Cannella
December, 1981

Water, Glass, Space

You shook up my life,
turned me upside down,
and I am dizzy
in a snow-speckled wonderland,
blinded with bliss.
Now that you’ve crossed my heart
I hope to die
before the inevitable end
to this idyllic agony.
My emotions keep shifting
as the snowstorm slows.
Doubt and worry fill my head,
then you say something sweet;
all is flake-freckled again.

Even without doubt about your outlook,
where would I be?
Still outside your life
looking in from
inside mine.
Two figures in
side-by-side snow globes
gazing through the
water, glass, and space,
that separate us.

Together means
shattering worlds,
and messy, dangerous
shards of our current existence
threatening regret.
Would we be different,
awkward, obliged, encumbered,
without water,
and space between?
Can we be content
in discrete chronic winters?

Josephine M. Cannella

Cathy Caca KitKat Cass

Cathy Caca Kitkat Cass
you begged to differ.
Reduced to tears, we
harbor secret plans
each to reform the other.

Only someone whose nicknames
include words for candy as well as for shit
could tell me she loves me
while simultaneously judging my life
something to pray about.
You love me as in Love Your Enemy.
You pray for me as in Pray for Us Sinners,
casting stones at me from your glass house,
and I’m supposed to feel blessed.

And now, Saint Catherine of See-
thing you choose to
(ignoring the rest),
you request
a sponsor for a
Walk for some Pregnancy Center.
It must be fifteen years
since your secret termination.
Does Penance suck, Big Sister?
Does a two-mile walk abolish
what you swept under the rug?


Josephine M. Cannella

Note to Self

Remember to forget, the hardest part,
since thoughts of him are habits of your mind.
Prepare yourself for change now; steel your heart.

That first embrace—he stretched your arms apart,
and gazed at you, his doll, his precious find—
remember to forget. It’s hard to part.

Alliteration, puns, witty and smart,
enjoyed in chats and places you had dined,
prepared your change that let him steal your heart.

Delete this recollection from the start:
fingers caress your freckles, as if blind
or memorizing them, his favorite part.

Focus on work, and not his voice’s art
that made your name and nicknames sound refined.
Prepare yourself for change now; steel your heart.

Ignore your knowing all those thoughts impart
a comfort, warmth from one so rare and kind.
Remember: just forget! This cold hard part
is prep for winter; steel your ruined heart.


josephine m. cannella
September 30, 2008

A Villanelle on Time

Time’s precious. How to spend it this occasion?
With, at most, just a few short hours to share,
deciding what to do can cause frustration.

We’ll start with coffee, bubbly conversation
that updates both, though we’ve no time to spare.
Time’s precious. How to spend it this occasion?

Should we engage in lively recreation—
A hike? Your bike?—or eat out en plein air?
Decisions challenge us with much frustration.

Perhaps we should arrange accommodations,
a private room, entwined, our love to swear
in precious scant time spent well this occasion.

I want to disregard this desperation,
do dishes, laundry like a common pair
and hope domestic masks allay frustration.

No time to cause nocturnal aggravation
by snoring, hogging blankets unaware.
Time’s vicious; there’s not one all-night occasion
we may decide to spend, my worst frustration.

josephine m. cannella
september 23, 2008​


are all we get,
the doggy-bagged remains of our schedules,
the bits in between what’s imperative
and what belongs to others.

I want to be
fresh and hot for you,
but sometimes, barely warmed-up,
I give you only what I can,
lukewarm loving,
picked-over passion,
and I will gladly take what can I get–
reheated feelings,
admiring afterthoughts–
because even at room temperature,
it’s satisfying
to the hunger I feel
when we cannot connect.

To fill that emptiness,
I scrounge for scraps,
re-read email,
consider conversations,
ponder your old pictures,
listen to love songs,
and pester you pitifully.

And now you have gone again, and
I am gleaning for remnants.
You used this glass.
This was your chair.
All you touched,
even my body,
has new meaning,
possessing potential
to be mined for a scent maybe,
a mark, a stray hair,
any residue of you
inadvertently left

josephine m. cannella


Indian Summer

There is no joy in an Indian Summer day.
Or if there is,
it is tainted with doom.
Sunshine, warm breeze,
jaundiced, burnt and rusty leaves,
the mottled, most alluring dress
of Nature’s cruelest tease.
In the shadow of her prime
the dead leaves dance
a parody of life.
False hope in her empty promise,
a gallant attempt to seize the day
from Winter’s imminent bite.

Josephine M. Cannella