Things to Be Expected

C547AB48-2305-49E2-8B9F-EBF1328DD726The dogs will bark and shake the gate,
shed all over,
but wag and squeak in welcome each return,
and they will keep us warm.

I will procrastinate and then I’ll hate
myself for it,
but I will love the poem that I wrote,
the gleaming kitchen sink.

You will stay out for socials way too late,
imbibe regret,
but you’ll have met some new acquaintances,
or helped a needing friend.

Like Fate,
some things are to be expected,
and most include
some rationalizations’ lame attempts.
These need be better seen.

I will forget when we’re supposed to meet;
you will remember my weakness.
You’ll disregard successes I might see;
I will point out all your meanness.

Disappointments never fail to disappoint.
Like messed-up meter, they show up on time,
punctual as a principal
checking her watch.
Precise and sharp
as the blade that pokes open
the plastic wrapping on a pristine package
of Prozac.

Josephine M. Cannella



Our Probable Fates

In our drunken days and nights of youth,
privileged with parents and possibility,
like puppies, we chewed on shoes
we wouldn’t choose
to chew
We told ourselves and each other
lies about our lives,
our loves,
our hates,
our probable fates,
and we believed ourselves and each other,
the shoes we wouldn’t choose to chew,
if we knew
like we do

Josie Cannella
March 19, 2016

Moon and Star

Moon and star,
always together,
trying to reach our eyes
for ages,
despite city lights,
shamed by sunshine,
clouded by fleeting vapors,
but always there together,
moonlight from another source,
starlight from another time,
striving to shine
in our eyes.

Jo C.

Nature’s Last Green

Nature’s last 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