Dante Di Stefano, "Portrait of My Wife Listening to Nina Simone"

On Sunday mornings she carries salaams,

wet dishes she washes as she whistles

along with “22nd Century,”

and I praise her pirouettes, pure amens

broken into butterfly wings, the face

I’ve seen in pictures of Staten Island

when she was just a girl spinning just so

in front of a rickety Christmas tree,

but now for eight minutes and forty four

seconds, she is all liquid melody

and revolt fused to the voice that razes

and soars, breaks dinner plates, unties aprons,

takes off a blue terrycloth bathrobe, shakes

glory and protest, dances in a voice

that unlooses the animal inside

the animal clawing a tomorrow

from the guts of a cuss twirled at what cages.

Dante Di Stefano is the author of Love Is a Stone Endlessly in Flight (Brighthorse Books, 2016). His poetry and essays have appeared in The Writer's Chronicle, Obsidian, Shenandoah, Brilliant Corners, The Los Angeles Review, Iron Horse Literary Review, and elsewhere.