“Parsing the coupling,” came the deep murmur, “I love

the word ‘parse,’ don’t you?”

I always had. Loved parse, loved words, loved

those who loved words, and there

you were.

Who earlier had said of my proffered

“We are a couple,”

“I love that word!”

Now parsing our coupling.

— Frances Huggard Migliaccio



Sea change

On the island always was a magick, fog

and second magick, sea. Both obscured

island from world, prevented

commerce to and fro betimes,

fog by quiet enwrapment,

sea by tumult of tempest,

two powers equal to bewilder.

A May Day fog, no one could wing

to, a traveler could not fly fro

so stayed, reluctant: cats awaited

while on unexpected May Day

on an island unanticipated were feasts,

dark brew, rare meats, lobster and tarragon

in one day of as many hours in dilation

as made a difference, made a rapt traveler

grow a smile that stayed through

lift of magick that freed

travelers to squeeze through weather

window to bone rattling earth

journeys to what awaited.

Whatever awaited.

But smile stayed.

And life changed.

— Frances Huggard Migliaccio



You entered, holding deep

red roses, velvet mysteries presented

with finesse: “Notice the language

of flowers. They’re not white.”

Not funeral, not wedding, not virgin.

An easy guest, an easy

way about the walk, the ready

smile. The laugh

infrequent, bright and deep, the eyes that missed

nothing. The withheld words.

An easy brush of hands, a deepening eye, and

nothing missed, but all held close and closed.

A shared taste for Laphroaig, smoky mystery

dispersed by water droplets, held in mystery.

A way to do, and a way not to do.

A corner chanced away from other guests, soft press

of lips, and soft again, and “Hold that thought.”

Agreed. And then the leaving.

Inherent in the leaving was the hold.

Hold awhile. Hold, consider. Hold that thought,

that mystery, abrupt, close-held, of hold.

— Frances Huggard Migliaccio


When you need a big pot

When you need a big pot

for cooking, likewise a huge bowl

for holding, sharp knife

for slicing, nothing

else will do. No two ways.

And when one wishes to welcome

guests for lobsters, the pot

looms large, the canvas of cooking

broad, the eager spirit willing, sprawling, generous.

Blades are honed, bowls brought forth, fixings sought

in anticipation.

And after searching for lobsters in April on this island in the ocean

and finding oddly none

available for the weekend, one discovers they can be

shipped by ferry, an hour from Galilee.

And the big pot becomes central, and precisely

where was the hulk last seen?

Friends have been invited with their friend,

newcomer to the island. Best it must be

of my lone hands, resourcefulness and tools.

A meal of simple parts: baby lettuces

bathed, awaiting extra virgin et cetera,

potatoes baked, stuffed back into brown skins, likewise wait.

And yes, the big pot will now be needed, by the approaching lobsters.

There was a biggest pot before the house went topsy-turvy

with upheaval of construction. Migrated. Ah —

retrieved from tag sale goods in the church basement. Sorry, god,

must welcome honored guests into my house on this green earth, and need

the big pot, for my devices and desires.

And ah, the big pot: scrubbed, shining reassuringly

large of girth, deep, filled with water, which

the big pot nurtures, slumbers, toward distant boil, for a long,

vastly long while.

And in that while the company proceeds

to entertain the hostess, and as stories

of theater enter laughing, all forget

the slowest boil on this earth, in the studiously

unwatched big pot.

At boil’s end a miracle: lobsters tender,

inside red armor. Convivial business: cracking,

sucking of shells, swirling in butter, prying,

teasing sweet morsels, licking of fingers, tossing

through flowing words and wine, each hollowed carapace

toward a huge bowl.

Simple meal — puts to work the guests. And

glorious evening: rounded and shaped by pace

and the social grace: of that slowly adept, astonishing

big pot.

— Frances Huggard Migliaccio

— 2012



Summer of Red Rockers

Glimpsed: a flash, a red

rocker: at

Red Right Return.

A woman: touched it, tipped it

forth, then back. How dare?

Each day on the sidewalk, the red

rocker at just that turn.

Old, but rescued by red,


Saturday of expectations: friends

to share some lobsters. I

made bold to stop

at red.

“I didn’t use primer,” she said, “I wanted

to see the grain raise. And I wove

the seat. For you — a third off.”

My own

touch to it, assessment

of rock, of rough-curved

wood on walk.

The seat: taut line, lashed

through drilled holes, tight

woven to last.

Heft to the pickup. She added, “Now

I don’t have to carry it

inside each night.”

Home with rescued red to a space

that rescued a dying house. Rough wood

to floor: and sure, and smooth, that rock

that carried slowly toward the sun

between two weathered arms

a rescued owner.

— Frances Huggard Migliaccio