Michael Paul Ladanyi resides in the foothills of the North Georgia Mountains with his wife and two daughters. His poetry has appeared in hundreds of print and online magazines and anthologies, in the US and abroad. For an extensive list of publications you may find more information on his site. He is the founder, publisher and editor of Adagio Verse Quarterly.

Dance and Stumble

~For My Wife~

Seventeen years have been turned,
some pencil-noted, others dog-eared.
If our marriage were a girl in Seattle,
perhaps a boy in Akron, it would not
be old enough to vote.

One-hundred-thousand-thousand wine
and brandy bottles have been buried,
blood-stained and spent beneath
scuffed floorboards under our bed.

They creak and shift on their own
accord at 3am, their bones blind
voices. Each time we've
heard them, they've known.

On weekends when there are a few
extra bills to scratch together,
we scour flea markets for crystal creamers
from the 20's, iris bowls from the 50's.
We know there is no room for them,
yet take them home anyway.

Though, on our country back porch,
with drunk glasses and cigarettes in the dark,
where night chides our dead smoke,
where things that cannot see rasp
and cough, dance and stumble,
is where I remember us in waking dreams.


he laid in the white and green striped
lawn chair for three days, wondering
how many pills it takes to choke a horse,
if God ate vegetable soup,

if his blue and swollen hands had
always seemed detached from his
thin wrists, if the grass had always
smelled like blood on thresholds,

stared up at him with a purple-rust
smirk. he laid there for three days,

his sister wondering if he were dead,
thinking him dead, finally believing
him dead, before asking herself if
the police would question her upon
finding the body.

the first few days he screamed
of ants eating his skin, laughing spiders
that smoked non-filter cigarettes
while sitting on the bedpost.

i remember my mother saying that i
could have my room back soon,
and figuring i could tape
my posters back together,

perhaps cover the hole in my wall with
a stereo speaker, standing outside
my locked door in the hall that
smelled like urine,

wondering how many times
you die screaming before
you realize you are dead.