Poetry by Chloe Firetto-Toomey

Her First Day Of Secondary School

Dad’s baritones
dislodge foundations. 
He conjures an earthquake, 
the walls tremor
with Mum’s soprano,
the sound of something shattering.
A dry thump,
her body nailed to the door?
It shudders, slaps shut
rattles in its frame.
He doesn’t need to be drunk
to be violent. 

Her younger brother
hides under the bed,
trembles in the tights
he thought she wouldn’t leave
without.

From the top of the stairs
she slides down
each threadbare step.
Stretches her neck to peek
kitchen and living rooms:
unkempt nurseries
of broken china
half hung curtains.

Through hinges
and door shadows
Dad on the couch, smoking.
Blue spires climb  
the tower of ash. 
It topples down his white shirt,
tumbles to his black-
mirrored shoes. 

She enters,
flowers on wet carpet
glass shards are mica flecks
in rusty pools
on the oatmeal rug.

Her goldfish
bowl, smashed. 
Dust particles
hover and drift
like dandelion seeds
above the fish, 
which flinches
on the sodden fibers,
glistening razors.  

Gills rise and collapse
splinter, in cold
cuts of air.

In a snap, 
Dad slumps to his knees, 
cups the fish
plops it
into a glass of water. 
It plunges, 
then rises to the top.

Chloe Firetto-Toomey is an English-American poet pursuing an MFA at Florida Internal University. She is the author of Beyond Gravity a collection of poems published in 2001 by Loebertas Publishing, Bristol, England, and her poetry has appeared (or is forthcoming) in Crab Fat, Arsenic Lobster, Crack The Spine, Cosmonauts Avenue, Origins, and elsewhere. She likes meatballs, cats and jazz, and edits for Gulf Stream and PANK literary magazines.