Judith Terzi
    Judith Terzi’s poetry, so often singing of life and times south of the border, gives off a colorful Frida Kahlo light and an aroma of flowers bright in a florist’s shop.  Judith writes with nostalgia and never with bitterness. Sometimes different stories are gently woven together within a single poem. Sometimes dead dictators are mentioned, but they are given no more importance than the buzzing of a fly overhead or the breeze that gets the wind chimes going. Sestinas, sonnets and pantoums abound, but occasionally Judith playfully breaks out of form. Imagine a wild frontier town circa 1880: high above the smell of manure and spittoons and liquor, a gentle lady of uncertain nationality rides in her carriage or gazes down from her hotel balcony, twirling her parasol, taking in the rugged, brawling world, and finding a place for it in her writings. She is not sullied by that world; rather, she is enriched and filled by it. That writer is Judith Terzi. 


Office Visit

His thin fingers delve into the manila file
like a dive into the ripple of green
lake, the sliding of oysters down his throat,
or a first French kiss at seventeen.
There is no eye contact this morning.
Is he writing what I say?
Is he composing an oboe concerto,
a sonata for flute?
My file wears a bright yellow sticker
like the slicker of a sixth grade safety
who reported my illegal crossing
to the third grade teacher.
Is yellow a code for hypochondriacs,
the chronically late, or good joke tellers
for whom to schedule an extra ten minutes?
I want to write in my file, too,
add missing punctuation,
hunt for spelling errors.
Is he writing what I say?
Is he practicing the swirls and loops of kanji
like zigzags of the redtail sharks
in my aquarium?
I want to add neglected detail,
edit false impressions.
I want to examine my file
before it returns to its shelf,
presses against others,
like the snuggle of the redtail sharks
between cliffs of granite and fern.

Chef Boyardee

The train station kept our suitcases in Mexico City.
Our green towels—too soggy after three weeks—
weren’t in the bags. Every time a towel smells
that wet towel smell, do you still say Cuernavaca?
Remember my nickname? I shoved it into a folder
along with our ketuba and your letters from Beijing.
I’m no longer a mixture of my name and a derriere
in Yiddish; I’m a seashell in Spanish.
Moliere hangs out in my den celebrating
triple centuries of surprise denouements,
while Hiroshige’s maples oxidize in a city of copper haze
inside your condo. For some reason, I ended up
with Mead’s Blackberry Winter, though you were
the anthro major. And you took your mother’s
two-tone purple afghan, each square a way station
of intangible storage. I kept her flowered pillow cases—
the ones you said smelled of wet trousseau.
We agreed to throw away the cans of ravioli,
but I wonder if you still say Chef Boyardee
when you smell your armpits. And the silver bracelet
you bought for yourself in Taxco,
the summer we studied Spanish in Cuernavaca?
It bears the slip of intimacy around my wrist.
But no one took the skinny dogs we avoided
each morning en route to Instituto Cuahnahuac.


Originally appeared in The Road to Oxnard (Pudding House Chapbook Series) 


2015 Judith Terzi
Judith Terzi was a Featured Poet who read her poetry at the May 2015 Second Sunday Poetry Series