Two Poems by Zack Rogow

No One Congratulates You

No one congratulates you.
No one throws you a party
with mirrory invitations.
You don’t get to try on a floorlength
or new jet tux.
No marquise-cut diamond
or 24-carat dream.
No shower with ooh-and-aah packages,
or a frou-frou gâteau several stories high
with just one figure on the top.
You hear no toasts over bubbles and smiles,
sacerdotal blessings,
Pachelbel on the buzzcut lawn,
or sendoffs to a colada destination.

When you end a relationship,
no one congratulates you.
All you get is the delicious ozone of freedom,
and shadows growing ever heavier.

Solo a Venezia

The sloshing of the boats at night on the Canal Grande,
the blue thread of daylight at the end
of a narrow waterway,
the windows of the palazzi
with their honeycombs of glass circles
and their pointed arches like the negative
space under hands in prayer—strange
not to share these with anyone,
to be alone here in Venice.

And how odd to wander this
labyrinth all day,
not part of the world
of couples posing together
for selfies on the Rialto,
trading licks of amaretto gelato,
or lifting strollers up and
down and up and down
the marble bridges.

And if one night
I pass another solitary face
and we exchange an unmasked glance,
I wonder if she might be the one
who would fancy a minotaur,
the woman who could also find
a minotaur’s cave.


Zack Rogow is the author, editor, or translator of twenty books or plays. His poetry collections include, The Number Before InfinityTalking with the Radio, poems inspired by jazz and popular music. He is also writing a series of plays about authors. The most recent, Colette Uncensored, had a staged reading at the Kennedy Center in DC, and ran in London and San Francisco. His blog, Advice for Writers, has more than 200 posts. He serves as a contributing editor of Catamaran Literary Reader

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