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Florence, By Any Other Name

Florence, By Any Other Name

– Poetry by Nina Denison –

My Gran was born Florence
–Imagine a baby in the 1920s
With such a serious name–
Burdensome, so she went by another
But we never forget
She was born blossoming

She taught me symmetry
Mirror images
If the doctors had cut her heart in two
They’d have found my father in half
His brother in the other
Their mirror-image pairs of daughters all through

It stormed where I was
The night her heart went still
My family woke in unison
To a deafening shift
It shook the walls
A painting fell and shattered

The thing is
I was in Florence then
Not a city known for symmetry
But that was all I could see
In the pediments and columns
And the dome
In my perfect sphere of cherry gelato
And my sister’s face (aside from the freckles)

My Gran’s twin soul was her brother’s
Who died a half-year first
Two weeks on the heels of our golden retriever
–We took the puppy home on the tenth of September
My parents’ wedding date–
Fifteen years later
I left for Florence
And my grandmother is leaving too

I will blur beyond my edges every year
Going forward
For three days in September

My parents’ marriage is thirty years old
My Gran is one-year gone
And there’s nothing to do but to spread the last ashes
At her brother’s stone
To complete the picture

And to watch the skies
Pending Hurricane Florence moving in

About the Author – Nina Denison
Nina Denison

Nina Denison is a 28-year-old Bostonian who graduated from Tufts University and the Columbia Publishing Course. She was an editor at America’s Test Kitchen for four years and currently works with authors as an editor and literary consultant. A lifelong writer of sporadically-published poetry and fiction, she is inspired by weather, dreams, dark-light tension (within herself, within others), insects (oddly), rivers, haunted places and people, and unshakable nostalgia. Nina is a Pushcart nominee with work appearing in Mouse Tales Press, Meat for Tea, Streetlight Magazine, Canon, Pequod, and Redheaded Stepchild.

Did you like these poems by Nina Denison? Then you might also like:

Sanctuary, and other poems
The Body as Poem
Metaplasia and other poems
This is What Death Does
Things I’ve Learned on the Road
Dog Men (A Prison Story)
We grew up on fear and became heroes
Mud Season, Graceless & Violet Abandon
The damsel in distress was not for me
In the Blink of an Eye, Risk Taking, Afterfall
In Time I’ll Thank Shamon
The Space I Take
The Worst Drunk Poem I’ve Ever Written

To check out all the poetry available on Dreamers, like these poems by Nina Denison, visit our poetry section.

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