Sam Ferrante

A Terrible Photographer

He buys the ring.
She hesitates;
the camera misses it.
She breaks into a grin
and wraps a yes around his shoulders
punctuated by too many elbows at strange angles.

She buys the veil.
She hesitates;
the camera misses it.
He breaks into a grin
and wraps an I do around her hands
punctuated by too many grains of rice at strange angles.

She buys the pregnancy test.
He hesitates;
the camera misses it.
She breaks into a grin
and wraps a you name him around his ears
punctuated by too many half-smiles at strange angles.

He buys two teddy bears.
She hesitates;
the camera misses it.
She breaks into chagrin
and wraps an arm around the baby,
and wraps an arm around one teddy,
punctuated by too many memories of
not-quite-hidden needle marks at strange angles.

He rents a small flat.
Buys a child’s first plastic baseball bat.

The camera misses it.
He breaks into a grim grin
and wraps an arm in a tourniquet,
punctuated by too many non-memories
of days with his son, lit by sun at strange angles.

She buys her own home.
She hesitates;
the camera misses it.
She breaks into a grim grin,
punctuated by too many dotted i’s and crossed t’s
at strange angles.

He buys two school pictures.
He hesitates;
the camera misses it.
He breaks into a watery grin,
punctuated by a photographer’s quick hands
adjusting his small shoulders at strange angles.

She buys a casket.
She hesitates;
the camera misses it.
He breaks into a stoic smile,
punctuated by his mother’s hands on those small shoulders,
and drops his second photo next to a wreath of flowers at strange angles.


To Be a Whale

On my bad days,
I wrap myself in 3 blankets
and curl on my side
around a globe.

I squeeze my eyes
from brown eyelids
to black
to spots
to headache.

And then I will the
headache from toenails
and the scratchy edges of eyelashes
and the inside of elbows
and the base of my spine
to my fingertip.

Because my therapist
told me to.

Then my index finger
presses the curve
of the world
and just keeps going.

This is not plastic, but
a jello mold Penseive.
My finger gets stuck,
up to the second knuckle,
2.1 centimeters west of Hawaii,
and all of me,
except my overwhelming
body,
siphons itself
into the blowhole of a whale
like whistling water
from a kettle into a teacup.

Only this teacup
is the size of a school bus
and weighs
nothing.

Whales weigh nothing
and take up no space.

They float
in the jello mold
3-miles of ocean
above them
and
below them.

And with each monumental
heave
of my brand new
tiny little whale arms
I shift the entire ocean.

BOW BEFORE ME,
OCEAN.

I AM BIG,
BECAUSE I AM SMALL.

And the headache
sprays out of the top
of my head,
as I grin,
with 8000 brill bristles
and move the entire ocean
as the entire ocean moves me.

On my good days,
I pass eerily glowing plankton,
fish with an alarming scale:teeth ratio,
fierce merpeople bartering scallop shells
who are utterly disinterested
in my presence.

On my bad days,
I just float,
2.1 centimeters west of Hawaii,
until the headache goes away
and I'm not hungry
anymore.


20,000 Leagues Across the Sea

I was not going to write about you today -
- not when there are all of these heroes to meet -
not when there are all of these reasons to stay.

There are dragons to slay.
There are wild, scaled stanzas to greet.
I was not going to write about you today.

There are gold coin verses to be found, still tucked away.
More rhymes to unravel; I can’t yet retreat -
- not when there are all of these reasons to stay.

I’ve so much story to learn and space for (s)wordplay.
There’s a bard, a noble, a pleb on Swanston Street.
I was not going to write about you today.

My ears are wide open, my head’s just gotten in the way.
This helmet is stifling. I can’t keep dragging my feet -
- not when there are all of these reasons to stay.

For now, I’ll walk your night during my day
and you’ll walk your day between my twin mattress and sheet.
I was not going to write about you today -
- not when there are all of these reasons to stay.


Sam Ferrante is a poet, editor, facilitator, and writer born on Long Island, college-fed in Western New York and Paris, and then poetically raised in Buffalo, NY, Ireland, and Australia. A former member of the Pure Ink Poetry team in Buffalo and a regular competitor in Dublin's Slam Sunday, Sam is now a Co-Creative Producer at Melbourne-based Slamalamadingdong. She is also Editor-in- Chief for online magazine,CrowdInk, and a regular attendee of as many poetry events as she can cram into a week. Her debut book of poetry, Pick Me Up got rave reviews from her Mom.