Cuban Missile Crisis

                                               October 12, 1962

                                               October 28, 1962



It must be that it was intuition

fueled by overheard conversations that

the adults around me were having, their

faces shaded by worry in their eyes,

because I wouldn’t know until later

the things they were trying to hide from me —

the 43 seconds until the end,

the uranium bullet, the vapors

of people that left shadows, the pressure,

the tsunami of smoke, the wind that raged

a thousand miles per hour, the heat of

7000 degrees, the vanishing

of tens of thousands in that instant wrath —

vague debris that razed me each night with fear.




                                    August 31, 2011,    

                                        for Jonathan


In those first perfectly still moments just

after his death, everything in the room

was the color of the wrinkled, faded

sheets, even the people and their clothing,

the furniture, the curtains, the cell phones

the people would use to bring the sad news —

everything there was a flat-gray that could

only absorb the departure of the

spirit, though not really comprehend its

going – it was in those first perfectly

still moments after your grandfather’s death

that you sat in the chair next to his bed,

held his hand and chanted softly — Live up!

praying for both of you in the gray air.


About the Poet

head shot prachyaJohn L. Stanizzi is author of Ecstasy Among Ghosts, Sleepwalking, Dance Against the Wall, After the Bell, and Hallelujah Time!  His poems have appeared in Prairie Schooner, The New York Quarterly, American Life In Poetry, Chiron Review, Tar River Poetry, Rattle, Passages North, and many others.  John has read at many venues throughout Connecticut, including The Sunken Garden Poetry Festival, RJ Julia Booksellers, and the Arts Café Mystic.  His work has been featured on Garrison Keillor’s The Writer’s Almanac.  He is an adjunct professor of English at Manchester Community College.  He lives with his wife, Carol, in Coventry, Connecticut.   http://www.johnlstanizzi.com