By Mitchel Montagna

For Ann, 1953-1970

There’s darkness ahead, with reels of grief.
But on Christmas Eve nobody could know.
They gathered in church to voice their belief
in tones as serene as the falling snow.  

Ann’s brother served me the ping pong ball
as she drove off wearing her silver gown.
Soon a carload of fools, drunks one and all
sped recklessly into the college town.

David’s parents were worried but I didn’t care.
After the holiday we walked into class.
All eyes focused on him in his chair
like an oddball caught in a looking glass.    

The photo of Ann on the Tribune’s front page
showed a bashful smile and long-lashed eyes.
And an innocence that would never age
nor understand a world that could brutalize.   

Now we are old men, David and me  
having long ago gone our separate ways.
Is he dogged by ghosts of his family?
Does he hear their prayers on winter days?   

Rainbows and Moonbeams

A thousand
mirrors, always brown
eyes: dull, disturbing,

Something inside you breathing
wrong, you think
you’re a hero they
care for.
Dashing into a sunset
of burning rainbows.

You say goodbye to
window panes
polished metals
clear rain puddles.
All of you have
the same brown eyes, your
faces change like

Catskill Ghost

Think I’ll go back to the Catskills
by its canyons and its streams.
Let the land undo my weariness
and soothe my troubling dreams.

A nice girl used to wait there
beneath the summer skies.
The sun put diamonds in her hair
and brightened her blue eyes.

We slipped inside the forest shade
to seek what lovers do.    
The leaves assumed a fiery glow 
as twilight drifted through.  

If I get there before autumn
I’m sure my faith will last. 
Her light will shimmer through me
like a spirit from our past.  

Lovely Dreams

I cannot sleep
because I fall
into a dream
as beautiful

as summer fields,
the aqua skies
and streams are clear,
the sun is high

above the hills
that line the plains,
a breeze rolls down
as sweet as rain.     

The petals spark
like polished jade,
the sunset blinks
and stirs the shade. 

We see the light
is fading there
while whistling winds
blow through our hair

so that we laugh
and wail and seethe,
we’re sure the air
is ours to breathe. 

I’m driving through
a dimming dome,
with air enough
for me alone,

the moon comes up,
the breeze turns cool
through lovely dreams
of lonely fools. 

About the Author:


Mitchel Montagna is a corporate communications writer for a large professional services firm. He has also been a special education teacher and radio news reporter. Publications include White Liquor Journal, Naturewriting, The Penwood Review, Scarlet Leaf Review, In Between Hangovers, and Amarillo Bay. He is married and lives in New Jersey.