and turned out the lights,

I heard my mother pray

with all the others.


The room stank

like stables. Foul air

burned my nostrils.


Soon, moans replaced

the prayers. I wondered

about the promised water.


When the valves creaked

open, I felt no water,

only something invisible


on my skin. We were naked

as the truth that could not be

hidden any longer.


My mother squeezed me

to her bosom—I never liked

the smell of almonds.


The last thing I heard was

the sweet sound of violins,

the trumpeting of angels.




John C. Mannone has works in Artemis, The Southern Poetry Anthology (NC), Still: The JournalTown Creek Poetry, Negative Capability, Tupelo Press, The Baltimore Review, The Pedestal, and others. Author of two poetry collections—the dark literary Apocalypse (Alban Lake Publishing) and the forthcoming 2013 Mary Ballard Poetry Chapbook Prize quarter-finalist on disability poetry, Disabled Monsters (The Linnet’s Wing’s Press)—he’s the poetry editor for Silver Blade and for Abyss & Apex. His work has been nominated three times for the Pushcart Prize in poetry. He is a professor of physics in east Tennessee. Visit The Art of Poetry: jcmannone.wordpress.com.