Skip to content

“To La Scala in the Rain,” “June Brides,” and “Guilty of Something”

by Eugene Stevenson

“To La Scala in the Rain”

Ten hours late October
through New York rain,
over Atlantic storms,
under Milanese fog, to
La Scala in mist & rain.

No sleep, as if one moment
of turbojets’ whine is too
much to miss. Awake, yet
not awake. Thump, thump,
a bass drum signals descent.

Thirty days, Venice to Liverpool
to Halifax. If Pietro had not
slept, what would his eyes have
noted besides world, worlds,
slipping by in the waves?

If the cabinetmaker had wings,
if the rock driller had flown,
even if the dynamiter had soared,
tears would still have fallen on
the way to La Scala in the rain.

“June Brides”

All across America, rain in
torrents, brides grow wet,
veils droop in screeching
rush, church to limousine.

Flowers hang their heads
below the lips of vases,
crepe colors run down
a thousand front porches.

As they remember this day,
brides will complain about
the rain, & secretly, about
someone else’s sunshine.

June brides have partners,
guests grow sodden,
one eye on the clouds,
one eye on anniversaries.

“Guilty of Something”

In a fevered cramp,
he fights for sleep
to tame the tides in his belly.
Fear grows like a fetus, a moan
escapes his lips, a wounded
animal, too weary to hunt.

The iron grip squeezes him like
a child with surplus soda &
cotton candy churning its way to
disaster, does not ease, but
keeps up, the pressure until
his head hurts from the hurting.

Guilty of something, he tallies
sins without an Act of Contrition,
forgetting words learned by rote,
not by heart. How easy six
Our Fathers, six Hail Marys on
a cold stone floor, compared to this.

Eugene Stevenson is the son of immigrants & the father of expatriates. His new chapbook is The Population of Dreams (Finishing Line Press). He lives in the mountains of western North Carolina. More at

%d bloggers like this: