Selected by Alexis Rhone Fancher, Poetry Editor

Marcus Elman: Two Poems

The Prosciutto Ambulance

We are traveling to Italy with special needs;
my dear daughter, her chair with wheels,
her schedule requirements, her helpmates,
but most of all with her hunger.

We are traveling to Italy where dinner is late
while Eden must chomp early
on something but not anything;
simple not sloppy, lunch and dinner.

Eden must EAT when her pang punches like a
Muhammed Ali pummel, a Joe Frazier hook,
the fury of a young Mike Tyson,
Eden must eat!

Before the voyage began, for several weeks a debate,
then providence struck: Not salmon not Cheetos
nor yogurt or string cheese. Not asparagus not broccoli
or hot dogs and muffins!

Ah ha!
A paper thin cut of prosciutto from Parma or San Danielle.
A slice of formaggio di capra (goat cheese) all the better.
Roll them up neat and tight — slip it over her lower left molar.
We dubbed it the prosciutto ambulance, available 24/7!

When the time came before lunch at Piazza Saint Ignazio,
we forgot the damn ham — the ambulance parked in our room!
Eden’s helpmate T and I ran like the dickens — back in a flash,
a prosciutto roll prepped to wolf down.

Instant delight! Eden’s eyes high, cheek bones bright,
little wiggles of heaven on earth playing through her body.
It worked, two prosciutto rolls would do it, but that’s not all,
we must arm the ambulance daily for a hunger alarm.

So to the Italian COOP many times.
Many kinds of prosciutto:
A prosciutto sweet and salty.
A prosciutto just salty.
A prosciutto crudo with spices & herbs!

Wherever we ventured – strolling the cobblestone alleys of Rome,
roaming the gravel white roads near Tuscan villages, or
joy riding the manual 9 passenger van that seated only 5
and a wheelchair, our blue prosciutto ambulance came along.

My beloved daughter, Eden, happy as a victorious gladiator,
ready to party at a piazza, hilltop village, or vineyard.
Ready to eat pasta late, ready like all humans to unravel insights,
unearth joys — our family coasting on the cusp of the unknown

while the known – the packed prosciutto ambulance ready to
rescue the day.


The Offering

We love what lives, what is alive,
what gives life. We love what blooms,
what brings fruit —
that thing that creates creation!

A seed deep inside a lost awakening
yearns for the light of day
to grow what we may only
truly grow: Ourselves.

And where we are lost, sleep walking,
sinking in unmarked shoals
lies too a choice, destruction or transformation?
Which seed might germinate or lie dormant?

Our boundary of being like a womb
brewing life amid a waking dream or
a nightmare, and you a shape shifter,
a tactile mind, a being born of vision!

Recall silhouettes, morning warmth,
that mobile mind like that first look at
Sequoia Giganticus or, Half Dome –
the scale of life and vision!

Life leads us to a fecund recess that
bears fruit, that reveals our wilderness
and abundance —
essence and root.

We share a basket of ourselves,
we hoist the barrel and serve
ourselves to thirsty friends who
serve that thing that creates creation.

We live this one precious life,
pilgrimage to our own door —
enter the sanctum – to receive
our body, our being on fire;

to glory
in the path
by vainglory.

And desire nothing more than
this offering of friendship — of the blooming self —
yes, that seed planted in some soul weaving vision;
the one where all creation is born.


Read a poem by Marcus Elman previously published in Cultural Daily: “The Boulevards of Los Angeles”


(Featured photo by Alexis Rhone Fancher)

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