The Destruction of the Piano Was the Destruction of Me—Jennifer Martelli

The Destruction of the Piano Was the Destruction of Me


My problem is there is just not enough joy.
Or, joy is too big to fit through my tiny heart-shaped door.
Not just my joy. Your joy. Their joy. Our joy
can’t ever be shared. Like cocaine, in its small white envelope,
or the cocaine tucked into that little pocket of your jeans—that coke
will be my coke. I’ll write my name with it on a mirror. Sometimes
I have to chop things up to get them through and
out my door: my heart door, my eyeball door, my brain door.
Joy, as a guest, never stays long enough. Joy is rude,
a fickle flat-leaver and too proud of its letters, which hang
below the line. In some tongues, the letter “j”—
that hooker—can sound like “y.” Why? My mother
loved this letter desperately, like it just wouldn’t last:
couldn’t have enough of us with joy: all “j”, all day.

Jennifer Martelli is the author of My Tarantella (Bordighera
Press), selected as a 2019 “Must Read” by the
Massachusetts Center for the Book and awarded Honorable
Mention at the Italian American Studies Association. Her work
is forthcoming in Poetry Magazine and, most recently, has
appeared in Verse Daily, The DMQ Review, and Iron Horse
Review (winner, Photo Finish contest). Jennifer Martelli is the
recipient of the Massachusetts Cultural Council Grant in
Poetry. She is co-poetry editor for Mom Egg Review and co-
curates the Italian-American Writers Series at I AM Books in
Boston.

Original artwork by M.P. Carver “Joy” acrylic on canvas

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