What it Takes to Carry / Daniela Buccilli


What it Takes to Carry

poems by

Daniela Buccilli

ISBN: 978-1-59948-753-3, 44 pages, $12 (+ shipping)

Projected Release Date:  June 26, 2019


Daniela Buccilli is a poet and a public high school teacher. Some of her poems can be found at Paterson Literary Review, Cimarron Review, Cider Press Review, Italian Americana, US 1 Worksheets, and Free State Review. Her degrees include an MFA in fiction and one in poetry that she is currently finishing. A member of the Madwomen in the Attic workshop and a fellow of the National Writing Project, she is also an editor for the upcoming anthology Show Us Your Papers. She lives in Carnegie, Pennsylvania.

Welcome, lucky reader, to Daniela Buccilli’s vibrant, deeply-felt debut, to this woman-centered world of desire and its fallout, of decisions and consequences, to this fine-tuned, quirky voice. What to do with the feeling that the world is sinking? Buccilli asks. I know/plenty of people are plenty happy in their perfect houses right//before a car bomb goes off. And there we have it: immersion into a world constantly teetering between beauty and destruction, tenderness and suffering. Yes, it’s a precarious place to be, but Buccilli’s intricate observations and killer metaphors somehow have us coming away from the turmoil focused on our resilience and the power of love. ~Nancy Krygowski, author of Velocity

In Daniela Buccilli’s unflinching debut, What it Takes to Carry, we are immediately drawn into a pervading sense of dread when her speaker confides, “maybe like you / I have been afraid….” These are poems of family, ancestry, politics, and domestic abuse made new with a dark, suspenseful vision of “What cannot be stopped has begun.” “Really, we are all in danger,” warns Buccilli. After reading these haunting poems, I believe her. ~Celeste Gainey, author of The Gaffer

These poems split my heart open and let the light in. Daniela Buccilli confronts hard truths–domestic violence, fragile bodies, the persistence of longing, the weight of free will and the knowledge that, no matter which path we choose, heartache is inescapable. Buccilli writes with tenderness and fury, and because she knows forgiveness is no easy thing, a sense of reconciliation and hope. These poems are astonishing for their bravery and beauty. A stunning debut. ~Lori Jakiela, author

It means judged by god

after Lucille Clifton


even in the diminutive


effort is
to utter it

not din el a
more like
done YELL la

even this
is not quite right

like the rum cake
my parents make best—

even in the diminutive

sounds like
done yet?

my father’s tongue
against his palate

a smashed n
out his cave mouth

my mother
does not use it

too familiar for her taste
the whole name better

for a startling child


a lover
tries on

my child name
having heard it in my father’s house

the test in it

how much love
it takes
to carry


maybe like you

i have been afraid
of the visions

the hungry darkness
my life

that every move be a trial
the sentence pending

a judgment



He hates my metaphor


about the bean time-lapse video.
He asks why people don’t just see
things for what they are. He wants
people like me to stop making shit up.
He says he’s done with PC pot-smokers,
who he’s sure I am, given the metaphor.
I post: this is a weird thing to be angry about
shamelessly obvious, like a squat. I wonder
about anger being fear’s screen door.
My friend tells me not to get
in a pissing contest with a skunk,
He’s a redneck. My friend is an artist,
her voice all Ben-Day dots. I write:
I’m not offended by literal-thinking people.
At the union meeting, my friend says
she has my back, which means she
might save my life in a street fight.
The meeting feels like a revolution
but simmers to a vote by 9.
She texts me an apology for Ray,
her junior high friend who was military,
which I know because he said people
don’t appreciate people like him until
they send them to wars overseas, &
I think he might be right, but I don’t know
how to say it, except with a Dugan poem.
My husband calls Ray a blowhard
I think about how things are,
how my guy used to be a pothead,
now is a landlord, wrists deep
in everyone’s toilet tank.
I’ve never been a literal thinker
or a linear thinker or a pothead, but
women with my DNA balanced
copper pots heavy with water
on their heads.



The unburied life


Their names, his name, his wife’s name,
the street we shared, I recall
as soon as he pronounces them
in the drugstore line. I see the life
I buried pull itself out of a grave.
I see my unburied life twenty years dead.
I have remarried; I have recovered.
Remember one thing; forget the other.

Crawling around a shared lawn,
I grabbed the only thing I could.
It was winter, almost five AM.
Someone had been using my body
in a mean game of pinball,
until I dropped out the window.
The neighbors could not know
for sure, until the grill toppled
over, left me standing
in front of their sliding glass doors,
naked, scrambling to hide
my battered ass
with the grill cover.

I’m glad for you, he says.
That evening, he will tell
his wife he spotted
the zombie of Woodhaven,
again. This time in line
at the drugstore,
still out of her mind,
still shaking.


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