Elizabeth Iannaci is a Los Angeles-based poetShe earned her MFA in Poetry from the Vermont College of Fine Arts and was a finalist for the 2009 New Letters Literary Award. She is widely published and anthologized appearing in journals and magazines including Poemeleon, Conclave, The Café Review, Versal Journal, and Larger Than They Appear: An Anthology of Short Poems.  Her work has been translated into French, Romanian, and Spanish.  Elizabeth served for five years as co-director of the Valley Contemporary Poets and co-editor of their yearly anthology, has appeared at countless venues in the United States, Slovenia, Paris, and Istanbul, has one son and prefers paisley to polka dots. You would like her.


The Eldest of the Twelve Dancing Princesses Tells …

After seeing what he’d seen,
clad in his shadowy nothingness,
following the twelve of us, night
after happy night, you’d think,
after watching us—faces
hot and wet as bath stones, hearts
pounding the Mazurka’s 170 beats
a minute, hair rivuleting down our backs;
after hearing the concert
of our laughter reeling high and wide
off the ballroom’s vaulted ceiling;
after holding our shoes—
our paper-thin soles in his hand—
or, after he’d won and chosen me,
at our feast,
our wedding ball,
me: bouncing in my seat,
tapping my fat-soled slippers;
him: taking my knife, and then my fork
from my hand as I conducted
the Contradanse;

after knowing all that,
you’d think he’d at least take me
dancing.  Nothing fancy:
a Valse à Deux Temps,
But no.

I suppose now, he’ll be a decent king—
having tiptoed to the throne
he’ll never tip his hand; finding music
in the marching, the hoof beats of war,
he’s practiced at ducking into shadowed
alcoves to avoid the embrasures. 

And us?  Perhaps even before I came
across the dark weft of the cloak, 
hidden in the lid of his crusty old trunk,
before I marveled at how I could
not see my hand as I held it,     perhaps,
I had already become invisible to him.

appeared in Poemeleon


Fountain and Vine

Even the janitor’s gone home, leaving
a chemical freshness that
invades like the cold.  This
floor was Sinatra’s refuge
in the Fifties, this frozen
fireplace, witness to trysts
with those young ones—their
tight sweaters bursting
with hope.  I imagine
his lips smoothing their pin-
curled hair, voice
soothing, soaking into their skin
like sunshine.  The voice
that soundtracked a generation:
first-dated and goodbye-d
and I’ll be seeing you-ed soldiers
and housewives off to battle
and the factory, penny-loafered
girls, hungry for their boyfriends’
furloughs, and 4fer’s, not
too ashamed to swing on a Friday

night.   This was his sanctum
Sanctorum atop the Studio.  These
French windows grinned
at a Hollywood past
its magic hour, a Hollywood
whose hookers hung blue
scarves on their red
lights to avoid the black-
list, while film-factory
kitchens baked smiles
into apple pies.  He holed-
up above it all
and waited:
for his horses to place
for McCarthy to tarnish
for the martinis to chill
until he became chairman of the bored
then packed his rats
for Palm Springs and clean
air, leaving nothing but
his fingerprints,
the fireplace
and this
empty lunchroom.


appeared in Blue Arc West


Elizabeth Iannaci




Free fall.  Falling in space, fall on your face, fallen from grace, fallen angel, Angel Falls, Niagara Falls, nobody goes there anymore.  See how she falls no longer perched on her pedestal, felled like an ancient tree, felled with words. A word to the wise. Words that fall on deaf ears like newly fallen snow: white and pure.  After the fall, what?  What now?  Will it be better in the fall?  He fell, she fell, we all fall down. Eventually. Whose fault is it?  Is it a fallacy?  If I fell for you would you fall into my waiting arms throwing me off balance, head over heels, over my head, off the balcony?  I’ve taken the fall, Baby. Fallen under your spell. A fallen woman. Fell prey to your charms. Fellatio.  It’s not a felony. It fell to me to put up a fight.  It’s felicity. Oh, how the mighty have fallen. Have I fallen in battle?  Okay, I’ve been KO’d.  Fallen short.  Plans fallen flat. Don’t let this fall through the cracks. Let your defenses fall.  It’s failsafe.  Tell your men to stand down. Find  something to fall back on before it falls apart. So, fall in. Give in. Give it all to me.  Fall on your knees, Oh! Hear the angels’ voices. It’s easy—like falling off a log. Don’t worry about the fallout: I’m your shelter, fellah.  I won’t falter.  Fall over. Be the fall-guy.  Take the fall, Baby.  Take the fall.

appeared in Noircon Biennial 

2014 Elizabeth Iannaci


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