Three Poems & Spoken Word – Michael Trocchia


         “Poor bitch, be wise.”
            -Robinson Jeffers, “Cassandra”

At your threshold, eros-
ion. Not one word is to be

Your future gifted
inside out. You fury through, cursed
and keen and unfailing; fore-

warnings in the wind, pitched

wails of ruse and rot. Unheeded
even in hindsight, you curve

speech into the spine of things
undone in time. And what is

goddamned inhabits breath, guts
every eye and ear. Listen, you


a door opens into cold clay,
into the dead of days ahead.

Michael Trocchia Reads The Unbelievable:


            before and after Leonardo Sinisgalli


Every face belongs
             to another,
you said. And so we can tell
who looks like who

but never who we are
looking at.


Daughter of the blind
              soothsayer, some call you

Manto, some call you another
Daphne, and some call you two

sisters—daughters of they,
Tiresias, birthed before gods

altered the sayer’s sex
again. Wed to whoever

you first saw, as decreed
by the oracle, you later wept

at the site that took your tears
for a name, a place we all call

Claros. You can tell who comes
from there by how they say

Mother. You can tell I’ve come
here to call you Mother. I say

I am a child of yours, a child
with bad teeth and vision.

I climbed out of the mountain
spring, as if it were a womb

just to find you again and again.
More than a thousand years

since you left me there, hunting
snakes at its edge. You must see

it now, from this great distance,
your child among children, fallen

into the face of water, lost to you
in a thousand likenesses.

Michael Trocchia Reads A Thousand Likenesses:


            Portrait of the House of Atreus

They lay dead in the night.
A hundred years before

and a hundred years after.
The symmetry leaves its mark

on a father’s face. He stands before
the stain of himself. When he turns

to one side, we see just enough
shape carry forth the deed

of generations gone. When he turns

to the other, we see just enough
shape carry forth the seed

of generations to come. We turn

and look for words
to carry forth our roots

into the breath of those dying
to speak them. We turn just

enough to make a sound
into the end of a sentence.

Michael Trocchia Reads Foregone:

Michael Trocchia lives in the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia, where he teaches philosophy and works in the library at James Madison University. His poems and prose have appeared in journals such as Arion, Asheville Poetry Review, Baltimore Review, The Bitter Oleander, Black Sun Lit, The Boiler Journal, Caketrain, The Chattahoochee Review, Chicago Quarterly Review, Colorado Review, Heavy Feather Review, Mid-American Review, The Midwest Quarterly, New Orleans Review, Tar River Poetry, Tarpaulin Sky, UCity Review, and The Worcester Review. His poems have been recently anthologized in the forthcoming Southern Poetry Anthology, Volume IX: Virginia (Texas Review Press).

Banner Art: Ritual Tundra, Blue, a visual poem by Robert Frede Kenter (c) 2023.

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