for Jeanette or henry


Tuesday in homeopathy class

“imponderable” remedies


moonlight   blue



I want to take

luna 200c

to feel the waves more,

come and go with my grandmother




Thursday I hear

that you are gone


all smiles, good soul

you took yourself away


transparent you

transparent me


     where did the veil go?


laugh at us

as we try to understand


mercy, moonlight, madness


my heart, my heart, my heart


my feet wet in all this rain




by Dianna Vagianos Armentrout

Published in Making Peace With Suicide by Adele Ryan McDowell, Ph.D.

Published in The Vermont Literary Review Summer/Fall 2009, Volume XI, Number 1

Those Days

                       for Niko Tzoumas


I read What The Living Do backwards, whispering

starting from the last poem “Buddy”

turning the pages forward offering my grandfather

what I thought he could now understand.

On Christmas day morphine boxes, sour smell,

drumbeat breathing, the almost widow and friends

gathering, closing the circle of a Greek dance.


The first poem and death approaches softly,

the orphan calls out to his mother, his wife murmurs

Niko, Niko, my heart is closed, my life is over.

The phone rings again. Outside cold clutches me

through my heavy black coat; inside dry heat,

a pigeon walking past the window ledge.


I came to the hospital to pick him up from a routine checkup

and was alone in the hall when the doctor told me

no, he isn’t ever going home. I called his children

saying what couldn’t be true because my sister

and Charlie and Timm and I had just decorated

the Christmas tree for him and wrapped his presents:

chocolates and a flannel shirt.


Now people come:

cookies in red tins with snowflakes, small talk, probing.

The Kalymnio had to be medicated before his wife

brought him to see his fisherman friend.

His godson shaved him. He should have gone to Memorial

and he would have lived longer. He was never sick, never.


They don’t know that he raised pumpkins

so big he couldn’t carry them inside the house—

that he saved the seeds and after they dried

we baked them and we ate them together.




Kalymnio refers to a man from the Greek island Kalymnos.


Published in Connecticut Review Fall 2012 Volume XXXIV No. 2



I forgot about you, kore,

until I smeared a streak

of subtle blood on my towel.


I had conceived you already

savoring a glass of Chianti, under the eyes of my poet cat, in my grandmother's bed

while the moon shifted and sighed.


I dreamt of releasing you, daughter

into the life I thought I had given you

all along.

Winter Comes


Weeping willows whirl

into each other's arms

waltzing with wind.


I watch someone else's child,

straw-colored hair hanging.

The first colors of September.

Reds speckle the top of maple trees. Soon

color will flow like a flame spreading fire.


I long for the bare bone of tree.

Why can't my excess catch fire

and blow away becoming one with the wind?


The sun shines through green stained glass leaves.

I spread my arms around the child and wait.

And wait. Winter comes.


Watch me, I will dance in nakedness with the willow.

The Good Wife


The good wife cleans brown stains

from the toilet seat, she washes

the yellowed underwear,

the silty solid milk in the blue



She goes to the farmer's market

and gathers sorrel, amaranth

and lavender, she nurtures

those around her table with broth

and berries.


The good wife gives away

her last chocolate chip cookie,

her last bar of cream white soap,

her last daylight hours to other people's



She would have bought a butterfly

cookie for her daughter. Jane, crack

the cookie on your forehead. See

orange and purple sugar fall

to the floor.

Mud and Mercy
published Sacred Fire


Gates and Roses