Andrea Potos


Caravaggio, The_Calling_of_Saint_Matthew_-_1599-1600
Caravaggio

Praise Your Life

When on a June morning heavy with rain,
you can taste the best cappuccino
this side of Rome, in a cafe
with scarred maplewood tables,
a book of Caravaggio splayed open:
The Calling of St. Matthew
that could be set in a tavern,
a gambling den, a dank office where
tax collectors are counting their day’s work,
while in the top right of the frame, a gold-
seared light slices in, and with it,
the figure of a god made man—
a bolt of radiance shoots through
his finger, pointed as if to say: You,
it is you, I have called to this life.

Caravaggio, St. Jerome

Another Writing Morning

falling readily
into the books of other poets,
the leisure section
of the cafe’s copy of the Times,
I watch steam hissing
from the espresso machine,
notice the darkness settling
in the bottom of my cup.
I think of my grandmothers in Greece
tipping their cups over
to discern their futures in the grounds.
In their time, my hands
move toward the page.

Caravaggio, Supper at Emmaus

March, One Year Later

I can almost locate that place
in my body where the Roman sun
was planted, those hours
we walked through cobbled piazzas
and lanes, slices of warm bread
in our hands, content to float
from one masterpiece
to another, to absorb
the Italian light.

And at night, to dive,
then resurface to water burbling
outside our tall windows,
in the great stone bowl
Bernini sculpted centuries ago,
still present,
still singing.

Caravaggio, Conversion_on_the_Way_to_Damascus (c.1600-1)

The Doe that Appeared on the University Athletic Fields

she leapt
into view    rose
five feet or higher    turning

in the thick summer air

she called the echoes from the grass

stopped the athletes in their games–

she pushed me off my treadmill mind

I was down on the grass
collecting awe in her wake

Caravaggio_-_Sette_opere_di_Misericordia

In Twilit State

May my father’s
brain find rest.
May ion swords
cease their glare
and clash.
May he surrender,
and the blue-purpling sky
immerse him for a time.
May stars
burn clear—spell out
constellations of his living name.

Caravaggio, Boy_with_a_Basket_of_Fruit-Caravaggio_(1593)

A Good Morning

In faux-leather ballet flats
you feel the solid
press of your soles on pavement.

Already, forsthyia
pour honeyed
gleam into air.

Secret birds make
a joyous ruckus
in bushes blushing green.

Yesterday (you’re certain)
you wrote one darn good line.
You conquered at least

one fear; forgave (for the moment)
one bitter family member.
This morning, you wallow

in gladness—right now
your axis
tilts that much closer to luck.

Andrea Potos  author photoAndrea Potos is the author of We Lit the Lamps Ourselves (Salmon Poetry, Ireland, 2012), with another book forthcoming from Salmon in 2015. She also wrote The Perfect Day (Parallel Press, 1999), Yaya’s Cloth (Iris Press, 2007), and Abundance to Share With the Birds (Finishing Line Press, 2010). Her work appears widely in print and online, in Poetry East, Women’s Review of Books, Southern Poetry Review, Nimrod International Journal, Atlanta Review, Verse Wisconsin, and elsewhere, and in the anthologies Beloved on the Earth (Holy Cow! Press, 2009) and A Fierce Brightness (Calyx Books, 2002), among others. Andrea has received the James Hearst Poetry Prize from the North American Review and two Outstanding Achievement Awards in Poetry from the Wisconsin Library Association. She lives in Madison with her family.

Andrea Potos at Book That Poet

Andrea Potos at Daily Dose of Lit

Andrea Potos at Iris Press

Andrea Potos at Salmon Poetry




  • Maureen

    Wonderful feature.

  • Seana

    Not only do I love the poems, I see Caravaggio anew. Fantastic.