Christian Sammartino: I Would Surrender


The crescent moon is a pair of Converse,
swinging from the power lines
above parked subway cars.

I wish everything was that high,
yet close enough to reclaim.

I'd shimmy up the telephone pole
with a pair of wire cutters and snip
our foreclosed house out of heaven’s fabric,

plop it right back where it belongs 
on its lot in our old neighborhood. 

There is a chance I’d be electrocuted
if two power lines crossed paths,
but I’m willing to take that risk.

I would surrender my body to the jolt,
like my father sacrificed his joints,
crawling on concrete floors,

exterminating insects in basements
so I had enough food to eat.

I would forfeit my life if I could claim
the keys to our backdoor from the power lines,
and give them to my dad on father’s day.

If I could pluck the ripeness of my youth
from our compost heap of spoiled fruit,
I’d use it to heal the places work bruised him.

Everything he broke his bones to build
was repossessed—now it dangles
from the lines above my head.

Polaroids of the afternoons we spent
playing catch and backyard baseball,
kicking up dust in our sandlot driveway.

My bedroom door floats above the city
like an exit sign—I pick the lock to copy
the notes my girlfriend wrote on my wall.

There is our scuffed dining room table
where we ate our last supper before movers
carted everything we own into a U-Haul.

If I could stand in our kitchen one last time,
drink another glass of water from our well,
I swear I’d find the fountain of youth.

We'd strike it rich enough to pay the mortgage,
get the bank to cut the padlocks off the doors.

This was almost the poem that saved the house,
but it arrived late, like the train I needed to catch,
so I could make it to work on time.

Christian Sammartino is the Editor-In-Chief of Rising Phoenix Review and the Managing Editor and Poetry Editor for L'Éphémère Review. He is currently studying Philosophy at West Chester University. His poetry is influenced by life in the Pennsylvania Rustbelt near his hometown of Coatesville. His work has appeared in Words Dance Publishing, Voicemail Poems, Eunoia Review, Thirteen Myna Birds, Sea Foam Mag, Yellow Chair Review and others. His first chapbook, Keystones, was released by Rising Phoenix Press in December 2014. You can find more of his work on his personal blog.