Prime Number Magazine
is a publication of 
Press 53
PO Box 30314,
Winston-Salem NC 27130

ISSN 2160-4207
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Issue 97, July – September  2016
Prime Number Magazine is a publication of Press 53, PO Box 30314, Winston-Salem, NC 27130


Maria Terrone

Followed by Q&A
Isadora’s Lament

     September 14, 1927, Nice, France

Too late to retrace the long trail of silk 
that led me to my death, 
the ultimate unraveling,
to alter course, to leave behind
that hand-painted scarf,
a gift from my dear friend Mary.

She waved me off, proffering a cape
for my drive by the cold sea, 
which I rebuffed—I who lived 
to fly barefoot across a stage, 
to defy the rigid rules
and confining costumes of dance.

Too late to stop my neck
from tilting back to feel the wind 
full face, to stop the wind itself,
to still the wheel’s spinning spokes
that snagged the wayward silk.

Too late to refuse the work of art
that partnered with air and whipped 
against my skin—a gift
I wore proudly, like wings.

Maria Terrone is the author of the poetry collections Eye to Eye (Bordighera Press, 2014); A Secret Room in Fall (McGovern Prize, Ashland Poetry Press); The Bodies We Were Loaned (The Word Works), and a chapbook, American Gothic, Take 2. Her work, which has been published in French and Farsi and nominated four times for a Pushcart Prize, has appeared in such magazines as Poetry, Ploughshares, and The Hudson Review and in more than 25 anthologies. Her creative nonfiction credits include Witness, Briar Cliff Review, The Common, Litro (U.K.) and other journals.

A note on "Isadora's Lament"
I was writing a series of poems related to clothing and realized that I’d always been fascinated by the tragic and very dramatic death-by-scarf of the modern dancer Isadora Duncan. Through research, I learned some of the details about her last car ride that I incorporated into my poem.

Guest editor Stacy R. Nigliazzo asks three questions:

Keyboard or #2 pencil?

I write with a pen on a lined pad with lots of cross-outs and changes. When the material has gone beyond the initial, rough stage, I type the poem into my computer files and edit from there. 

Imagine your favorite poets as your family. Who is your poetry father? Mother? Bratty sibling?

I have two poetry mothers: Enid Shomer, my friend and mentor, and Linda Pastan, another writer I greatly admire but whom I never met. My poetry father is the Irish poet Eamon Grennan, with whom I studied when I was just beginning to get serious about writing; he has been a friend and supporter of my work ever since. My poetry sibling would be Nicole Cooley. She’s not bratty though, but a poet with a huge heart who writes original, moving poetry that speaks to us all. 

Think of your “poems I wish I’d written” file. What’s at the top of the list?

In college, I thought modern poetry began and ended with T.S. Eliot, especially his powerful “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock.” I still consider it a masterpiece, but now I have a folder bulging with contemporary poems I wish I’d written! At the top is Mark Strand’s “A.M.” and Pastan’s “At Gettysburg.”