When CavanKerry Press accepted Elegy for the Floater, I was clueless about, and daunted by, the publication process. Lucky for me I had Florenz as my guide. She calmly, kindly and patiently helped me to get done what needed to be done—e.g. the many, many pages of the UPNE questionnaire; the search for blurbs. No matter how “stupid” my question was, she never was curt or snippy or short-tempered with me. Never. Now that I work for CKP and know what pressures the Managing Editor works under, I have more admiration for, and am more grateful for, how Florenz treated first-time-author me.
In honor of Florenz, here’s my favorite poem from Elegy for the Floater.
The First Signs of Spring
Because it was April
the tulip buds cracked then revealed
satin sheened blood red petals,
and the blossoming pear trees on Ninth Street
filled the air with bridal stillness—
the perfect setting for
the song of an unseen bird.
Then the woman in front of Balducci’s screamed,
Adam, give me your fucking hand,
at the small boy with the dropped head,
his fists clutching his jacket.
I knocked her down, picked up the boy,
and fled up Sixth Avenue.
We stopped to get Toby, the ginger-striped cat
asleep in the lap of a drunk on Fourteenth
who had scribbled on cardboard:
Toby and me are homeless PLEASE HELP.
I put ten bucks in his paper cup.
On the ferry across the Hudson
we tore the past off our skins
and threw the pieces into the river.
That night in my kitchen, windows wide open,
fragrance of hyacinths filling the room,
Adam and I laughed, danced to a salsa beat,
while Toby stretched out on a blue velvet cushion
and scrupulously licked his fur clean.