Litany by Anthony DiPietro
“But don't worry, I'm not the bread and the knife.
You are still the bread and the knife.”—Billy Collins
You are earth: your hands dig in sand
at the wet edge of ocean and beach.
Sweat gathers in your clothes and hair,
your red beard. You say, Smell that salt!
Then, you are seafood: whole-belly clams,
fried oysters, their grease on your tongue.
And you also taste artisan cheeses and chocolate-
covered berries, drink wine. You are appetite itself.
I am all the dizzy senses, in motion
dancing after you, a leaf that skips
along the gravel path that winds the park.
When you cycle, I’m the wheels, the pumping pedals.
Left alone, I’m pages of a book, a shelf
of books, in fact, a library. I’m the dark
in the library when everyone’s gone home.
I’m the sleeping dog, but never the barking dog.
I spare my throat. I am not the bed
you suppose, sheets with pink cotton blossoms.
I am honey hardened in a mason jar
in the cupboard. I’m no thunder, but I am the sound
of rain through an open summer window.
I am the window, too, and the load-bearing beams
of a house. And you are its walls, its doors
that swing and slam, and today,
you are closed.
Anthony DiPietro is a New England native who worked for 12 years in nonprofit organizations on issues such as violence, abuse, and income inequality. In 2016, he moved to Long Island and joined Stony Brook University as a candidate for a creative writing MFA. A graduate of Brown University with honors in creative writing, his poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Assaracus, The American Journal of Poetry, The Southampton Review, Anomaly, Rogue Agent, Talking River, and The Good Men Project.