Mary Torregrossa is originally from Rhode Island and now lives in Southern California where she teaches ESL at the El Monte Adult School. She is a founding member of the Emerging Urban Poets in Pasadena. Mary was profiled in the LA Times and shared her poetry on Pacific Radio Station KPFK as part of the EchoSpace Poetry Collective. In 2009 Mary was selected as a “Newer Poet of LA” by the LA Poetry Festival. Her poems have appeared in several writing group anthologies, as well as in RI Roads Travel Magazine, Inscape, poeticdiversity, Lummox, Alternate Lanes, Poetry and Cookies, the SGV Quarterly and Writers At Work. Her poem “Samurai Mother” won the 2013 Whittier Writer’s Club Annual Poetry Prize. Mary is a poetry coach conducting workshops for children, youth and adults.


Sister Sun

There are three of us,
our bony selves
stand out like colts,
especially in summer.

Knocking ankle bones
like dice
we kick the covers
from the bed
each morning.
This day, one sister says,
will be a scorcher!

She rises,
like a white birch,
limbs askew,
until with grace
she stretches
all the kinks of sleep
into one, long, slender reach
and greets the sun.


Samurai Mother

     after the legend of the goddess Benzaiten
     who tamed the dragon of Enoshima Island

Black sand iron ore makes the blade.
Mix with charcoal in the kiln.
Hammer the red hot block
in the fire of the furnace
until it shines new born.

I chisel my name
into the cold flat edge
smooth as satin trim,
sharp as first love lost.

When I call to it, it comes to me.

Alive in her amniotic ocean
daughter waits at the portal,
her fingertips strum the lining
of my womb. Warrior Mother
ripples like water in the wind,
traces gilded petals at the hilt,
slices the air with the long katana.

And when the dragon comes
to devour the village children
on the Island of Enoshima,
scales flexing blue-green,
teeth like broken quartz
charring tongue and cat’s eye

I will slay it twice, until the steel
samurai rings like a guillotine.


Avvoltoi Bella

Beautiful Vultures

There was a poem in the air,
three blackbirds sailing,
big as grackle but more
graceful. Three of them

not far, not high, just over
the house, flying around and
round again. Like those birds,
Emily says, who circle around
something dead or dying.

I can see the feathered edge of wide
wing tips, think carrion but don’t
say it because our conversation
is not a crossword puzzle.

Hawks, I say instead
and little Melanie asks,
What do you think is dead
over there? Which makes
Santos and Destiny stop their
page-turning and look up

at three black birds
soaring on invisible currents
against the cerulean sky.




2014 Mary Torregrossa


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