Stella Nesanovich



The room is cold, dimly lit.
Confused, I turn right
when asked to face left.

Then Chad, the technician,
covers me with a warm blanket,
tucks a towel under my chin.

The heart moves to a core beat,
a deep meter of thump and rest,
but mine has a murmur, a note
out of tempo. The heart of a poet,

a friend says, should murmur
to weave a bracelet of words,
and, like the probe against my chest,
its sounds image the soul’s content.

“That’s a healthy heart,” Chad says,
as I glance to see a twigged
and branching tree pulsing
in a measured dance.

One day, an old garment,
my heart may tear and fray.
For now, the valve that sighs
is a murmur I was born with:
an echo I listen for.



Dead Men’s Fruit


“Jamais deux sans trois”: French idiom


Two friends have buried their husbands:
a novelist, whose literary works
bore fruit beyond tactile measure,
was ravaged by a brain tumor.
The other, a gardener, succumbed
quickly to pancreatic cancer.

Like a ribbon on a trail
I may soon follow, I study
their deaths, the various ways
I may falter and fail.

Then I learn of a father
mortally injured in a wreck,
but kept alive for a time
and revived so blood
flowed to his organs,
harvested for the living.

His satsumas are bitter,
all sugar depleted.
Plentiful citrus, green
globes that ripen to gold
in autumn, kumquats
like floribunda;
summer’s ripe figs—
ordinary sweetness
now the sour fruit of death.


Stella NesanovichStella Nesanovich is the author of two full-length collections: Vespers at Mount Angel: Poems and Colors of the River: Poems as well as four chapbooks of poems. Her poetry has appeared in many journals and magazines as well as over twenty anthologies. She is Professor Emeritus of English from McNeese State University in Lake Charles, Louisiana. Her website is

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