Day of Atonement

Dangling from a rope on the side of my house, the man
pulls nails from his mouth and pounds.

The brown sparrow hovers to a blur all day
just beyond the chain’s length holding the neighbor’s dog

that idiot barks in perfect time to the hammer
until it’s all one metallic bang, and

I pray that dog dead. A nail
falls from the man’s mouth when he calls his hammer cunt

and lands on my porch like an awful thunderbolt
I’ll kick off with my foot—tit for tat,

the nail should land perfect in the eye of a romantic
looking up to September’s afternoon moon.

This year’s fall much like last year’s fall.

Jennifer Martelli was born and raised in Massachusetts and graduated from Boston University (BA/BS) and The Warren Wilson MFA Program for Writers. She’s taught high school English as well as women’s literature at Emerson College in Boston. Her work has appeared most recently, or will appear, in the following publications: Slippery Elm, Tar River Review Bop Dead City, and A Narrow Fellow. She was a finalist for the Sue Elkind Poetry Prize and a recipient of the Massachusetts Cultural Council Grant in Poetry. Her chapbook, “Apostrophe,” was published in 2011 by BigTable Publishing Company.