Frank Paino

Lachrymae 1894–95 Frederic, Lord Leighton

Daphne, Again

      (for my mother)

After the fire
after the simple division
of flesh from bone
bone from ash
we took what remained of you
poured it like mercy
beneath the weeping
while crows wheeled
beaks bright
with plundered berries
and the stones behind us
heavy with old griefs

not far from that place
the Cuyahoga River burned
like a requiem for the old gods
but today
men tend the ore boats
flick their cigarettes
across the water’s dark surface
with brusque impunity

I no longer believe anything
to be impossible
I have seen a river
put on a cloak of fire
I have seen you turn from flesh
to something breathless
as stone
from cinder to ash
the worms will turn
to leaf the tree

Frank Paino was born in Cleveland, Ohio and earned an MFA from Vermont College. His third book, Obscura, was published by Orison Books in 2020. His first two volumes of poetry, The Rapture of Matter and Out of Eden, were published by Cleveland State University Press. Frank has received a Pushcart Prize, The Cleveland Arts Prize in Literature, and a 2016 Individual Excellence Award from the Ohio Arts Council. His poems have appeared in a variety of literary publications, including: Crab Orchard Review, Catamaran, North American Review, World Literature Today, The Briar Cliff Review, Lake Effect, and the anthologies, The Face of Poetry, Poets for Life and Beyond Earth’s Edge: The Poetry of Spaceflight. His website is

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Spring 2021