Author: Frank Giampetro

While earning his MA at Washington College and his MFA from Vermont College, Frank Giampietro was the CEO and general manager of a family owned appliance business in Dover, Delaware. He earned his PhD in English at Florida State University in the 2010 and his first book of poems Begin Anywhere was published by Alice James Books in the fall of 2008. Awards for his poetry include a Walter E. Dakin Fellowship from Sewanee Writers' Conference, a Kingsbury Fellowship from Florida State University, a fellowship from the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, and a Florida Book Award. He is the creator and editor of La Fovea, and Poems by Heart. His poetry, nonfiction, short-short fiction, and book reviews have appeared in journals including 32 Poems, American Book Review, Barrow Street, Black Warrior, Cimarron Review, CutBank, FENCE, Hayden's Ferry Review, Poetry Daily, Poetry International, Rain Taxi, and Subtropics. Currently, he is a resident scholar at The Southern Review and lives in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

Gratitude & Cold Florida Pantoum & The Rash


Feeling glum about my life, I watched a documentary about a conflict in Chad in the eighties. In the film, a man revisits a place where he and forty men were packed shoulder to shoulder into a tiny open-air cell. When the sicker prisoners began to die because of the heat and lack of water, the living pleaded with the guards to take the dead away. But the guards told them to wait until two were dead, then it was three, then four—the guards said then they would take them all. But after three, the prisoners stopped asking and instead took turns lying on the bodies, would fight for position especially when the sun beat on the south wall, because the bodies were so much cooler than anywhere else in the cell.

Cold Florida Pantoum

Lately it’s been so cold here in Florida
iguanas are falling from the trees.
I’m hiding inside our house.
They’re not dead, they’re just cold.

Iguanas are falling from the trees.
I know because one fell on my head.
They’re not dead, they’re just cold.
It felt like a scratchy bag of new potatoes.

I know because one fell on my head.
No, it was more like a dead cat
in a scratchy bag of new potatoes
only heavier and with sharp claws.

No, it was more like our dead cat
my children woke up to Sunday morning
only heavier and with sharp claws
grief made sharper with my garden spade.

My children woke up Sunday morning to
me hiding inside our house
grief made sharper with my spade.
Lately it’s been so cold here in Florida.

Self-Portrait as a Rash

To the wife the rash seems sullen and lazy this evening.
           The doctor says it’s hives and if this is your skin,
                      imagine your heart, you’ve only yourself to blame.

The rash tries harder, says well instead of good, remembers
                                 to ask the supermarket cashier how she is doing,
                      loves the smooth surface of her matronly arms.

           The rash lies in the sun-damaged hammock,
                      admires the dead hummingbird’s wing.
                                 Dreaming, the rash spreads, heads north,
blue as imagination.

           The rash wanders fields, kills the shepherd
                                                       so the sheep will scatter,
                      makes more plans to brighten the world with its power,

           is strongest on the weakest of chins.