Benjamin Nardolilli

High Reserve

I wish you had come
With fine print

I could at least blame
Myself for what happened

Not reading the writing
Tucked under you

Instead, we collided
One day by accident

Talked it over
Until we fell in love

Neither of us giving off
Symptoms to dismiss

You did not even come
With a warning

Nothing peer reviewed
To save me

Or at least give me
Reason to kick myself

As part of the process
Of licking my wounds

Cruise Terminal

For anything else, shrug,
on anything else? Go,
these are some Chthonic hijinks,
I was tempted too,
America is a vast sharps container

To make money in costume,
I needed to get through human relations,
I promised to do the better job:“everyone
and everything will be in love here”

None of the something
everyone wants fell to my needs,
noted once, given a seat
not yet seated since, and they ask me
“what you are supposed to be?”

“Missing flesh,” just as good then,
whenever it was,
they did not see me in the present,
because I was tempted
up on the hill not to disturb

Mesa Down

We play bingo at the edge of the gas station,
unsure who won the last round of checkers.
The gas is out, and the prices
of what others could buy from us keep on rising.

The bathroom still works. We joke:
the rust is a partner, a lazy boyfriend hiding
under the sink and too shy
to commit to a full breakdown of the plumbing.

Travelers make use of a highway, not our road
bristling with weeds. Once,
we were able to entice with cheeseburgers,
now the empty grill hisses and we call it music.

Ben Nardolilli currently lives in New York City. His work has appeared in Perigee Magazine, Red Fez, Danse Macabre, The 22 Magazine, Quail Bell Magazine, Elimae, fwriction, Inwood Indiana, Pear Noir, The Minetta Review, and Yes Poetry. He blogs at and is looking to publish a novel.