Saturday Poem

Concerning Bella

Gravitas, the manager said,
flipping resume pages,

he started at the demilitarized
zone on my head from roots to ear,

white advancing south from the crown,
chestnut retreating down. He

should have know Bella, my
Romanian grandmother, she

sold pencils to the army, ran
her sons like a combat unit, chopped

liver like a samurai,
her white coils vibrating like a power

grid around her eggplant cheeks.
Zoftig: from zaft, juice, sap—

she had gravitas.

Bella, Bella, Bella,

before I knew it meant beauty,
it sounded like a combat zone to me.

by Jayne Benjulian
from Five Sextillion Atoms
Saddle Road Press, 2016