National Poetry Month: Brad Ricca

Here at Black Lawrence Press we are celebrating National Poetry Month with a poem a day, featuring a total of 30 authors from our list. Today’s featured poet is Brad Ricca, author of American Mastodon.
Bartleby and Emily Dickinson’s First Date
He answers the ad: SWF
seeks Master – after
studying it
for weeks.
After a nervous call, they meet for dinner.
He is impressed by her indifference to the salad, her
unabashed intentions
towards the Porterhouse.
Afterwards, they see a poorly-chosen
Hollywood blockbuster or an
art film.
Emily revels in the full-frontal
nudity. Bartleby shifts visibly.
She finds this sort of cute
so she coaxes him out of his overcoat and
he feels a thin hand
in the dark.
When the date is over,
Bartleby mutters something about doing her taxes and
she laughs
a high harmonious sound
like the movement of gulls in winter.
This startles Bartleby and indeed the whole waking world. She
pulls him close and whispers:
Call me if you wish my
But her breath smells like steak sauce.
So he makes a feeble, poorly-chosen excuse. It
will haunt his days
like dismemberment.
53American Mastodon was the winner of the St. Lawrence Book Award and was featured on The Writer’s Almanac with Garrison Keillor. Ricca has had poetry appear in The Coe Review, The Kerf, 6ix, Black Dirt, White Pelican Review, Marco Polo, Caesura, Albatross, and elsewhere. His nonfiction book Super Boys (St. Martin’s Press, 2013) was named a Best Arts Book of 2013 by BookList. He lives and works in Cleveland. and @BradJRicca