Gianna Russo

Somewhere Jazz

Paris Street, Tampa

Trumpet, trumpet flower, and the before

—my body old already, but sparking.

This was decades before the songs I thought

sang Shadow Garden, the termites, the sirens.

I wanted this to be about the house,

the ghost that moved the mirror,
the car-in-the-driveway arguments,
late nights waiting up,
slammed & broken glass,
heartbroke pillows.

But also the oranges before greening,

Spanish moss, old hopes,
money, money and money.

Our first cat was a tortoise shell

and the bug man said
She shore is ugly.

The house where you called down all your ancestors.

Much before the house I thought was me was thrumming—

pure inside with jazz.


Gianna Russo is the author of the full-length poetry collection, Moonflower (Kitsune Books), winner of a Florida Book Awards bronze medal, and two chapbooks, including one based on the art work of Vermeer, The Companion of Joy (Green Rabbit Press). Russo is founding editor of YellowJacket Press, currently Florida’s only publisher of poetry chapbook manuscripts. A Pushcart Prize nominee, she has published poems in Ekphrasis, Crab Orchard Review, Apalachee Review, Florida Review, Florida Humanities Council Forum, Karamu, The Bloomsbury Review, The Sun, Poet Lore, saw palm, Kestrel, Tampa Review, Water-Stone, The MacGuffin, and Calyx, among others. In 2017, she was named Best of the Bay Local Poet by Creative Loafing. She is assistant professor of English and Creative Writing at Saint Leo University, where she is editor-in-chief of Sandhill Review and director of the Sandhill Writers Retreat.

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