a poetry e-zine










Poems By Mary Brancaccio

Bomb Blast on the 176
London, England

A man ferrying deadly cargo
on the 176 bus near Waterloo Bridge
dies after premature detonation.
Shock waves peel metal
spreading debris across deserted streets.
Nearby, two night workers suffer
punctured eardrum -- the driver survives.

Did the bomber carry his precious load
like an infant? I am on the bus now,
my daughter fussing in my arms, her brow
creasing, corners of her mouth
bending, then her lips opening
to a full-throated yowl.

Did he sit as I did that afternoon,
watching backs of heads, watching departures,
slowly unbuttoning coat with one hand,
lifting shirt tail, loosening
bands around my chest?

I am lifting my baby to my nipple.
She gurgles, then settles, latching on.
Soothing electric charges
move through my jangled nerves.

Did the driver’s change box startle him?
At the sound, my daughter lets go,
turns her eyes to the source,
a drop of blue-white milk pooling
in the corner of her mouth. What longing
did he carry for his bundle?

The black and white photo
is too pixilated to make out much:
Carcass of the bus. Seats torn open. Glass.

There. I once sat there, nursing my baby.


Mary Brancaccio is in the MFA poetry program at Drew University. She teaches creative writing in Maplewood, New Jersey.


Copyright 2011  Chantarelle's Notebook