It wasn't until a few months ago, when I developed facial palsy as a result of Lyme disease, that I realized how often I write about faces. Unable to move, chew, speak, smile or close my eye on the left side of my face, I had the unsettling experience of finding line after line in my old poems that would seem to somehow reference this future condition, though I wasn't aware of its existence then. But none more than in this poem, written nearly a decade ago, that begins "First your face. / The sun blesses it off" and ends with the image of a half-moon. How to understand this, now? Careful what poems you write, for you will have to pay for them? Maybe it's a gift to get to. I am grateful that my face has healed considerably since this recording, made only a week after palsy set in, otherwise I might not be saying so. I'm sitting in the lethal grass in my side yard in Upstate NY.
Nick Maione's work has appeared in Tupelo Quarterly, The Common, jubilat, and TriQuarterly, among other journals. A recent finalist for the National Poetry Series and Paraclete Poetry Prize, he holds an MFA from University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Nick edits the online recitation journal Windfall Room and is the founder and director of Orein Arts Residency in Upstate New York. Instagram: @nmaione_