Vinni Marie D'Ambrosio

Vinni Marie D’Ambrosio, Ph.D, New York University, is a poet, essayist, translator, editor, publisher, and author of four books, three of them of her own poetry and one on T.S. Eliot. Her poems have appeared in anthologies, journals, textbooks, and newspapers in the United States and abroad. Her honors have included a Poet-in-Residency at San Diego State University, and two fellowships at writers’ colonies. She directed a 12-year-long poetry reading series at The Brooklyn Museum, New York, and, for 25 years, has taught poetry classics at the American Association of University Women, NYC. She was President of the T.S. Eliot Society in St. Louis and the Pen & Brush, Inc., in NYC. A member of P.E.N. American Center, she is also Professor Emerita of Brooklyn College of the City University of New York.


Vinni Marie D'Ambrosio '50


On the Fifth Anniversary
    of Bluma Sach’s Death

Who knew her--
(God, all refused her!)
tthe Polish refugee,
caught seven times
in the Jew net?

and fat
and poor.

Halls of applause
in a patched brain.

At last we met
and I wanted her
inside my door.

She came.
I poured the vermouth
of old sunrises
and said, Borrow my piano
in the mornings, Bluma.

And her arms flew,
and golden raisins
gleamed at the elbow,
and her dying skin
was heaving dough.

Done, shoulders damp,
she’d talk
beneath the parrots and swans
in the Roman garden
painted on my wall.
Wild Schumann huddled
beneath mute feathers,
ghastly parades
of brothers and children
kissed with soft beaks,
and I always said,
Tell me more!

Once the pain pushed
her to draw a line:
It is not fine of you,
she said.
We stared at wine,
and spoke no more of Poland.

In Warsaw’s winter, once
she bartered, she the ripe artist
bartered her piano
for a shredding quilt.
My guilt is worse.
I handed her a sieve of hours,
and as return
peered under old leaves
at the haunted bird.

I will go into
the small black room
where my work lies scattered
and the letters on the keys
are trembling fires
and the linoleum
is a rag of ice
under my penitent feet.

But Bluma, those mornings--
how the bright rooms laughed with music
while we wept!



Life of Touching Mouths (New York University Press)