My Voice #20

My Voice #19

My voice: a chorus of humming street lamps.


I’ve always been very shy and soft spoken. Often times, I let my voice blend into the background noise of the world. I also have a tendency to fall into silence and allow others to speak over me and forget the power of my voice. This series of small lines is a collection that attempts to describe and capture the range of my voice. This is my way of claiming a space for my voice in this world.

Six More Weeks of Winter, Please

Six More Weeks of Winter, Please 

Punxsutawney Phil fears his shadow
As much as I do but every winter
Morning is Groundhog Day for me.

I don’t know how to accept
My naked body but I know
Which fashions to wear this season.

Even though I shatter the mirrors
In my house, my silhouette stubbornly
Decides I occupy too much space.

Magazines teach me to squeeze
My contours into smaller shapes
Than Russian nesting dolls.

But I could be smaller. I donate leftover
Meals to friends and strangers.

One day I’ll make Barbie proud.

I avoid public places after ice storms
Because the world becomes a runway
With many cameras, broadcasting full body
Shots of my reflection to heaven.

God isn’t allowed to see my physique yet.
I’m not lean enough for the spring thaw

By Christian Sammartino

My Voice #18

My voice: a paint brush forming letters on the blank sign of a new storefront.


I’ve always been very shy and soft spoken. Often times, I let my voice blend into the background noise of the world. I also have a tendency to fall into silence and allow others to speak over me and forget the power of my voice. This series of small lines is a collection that attempts to describe and capture the range of my voice. This is my way of claiming a space for my voice in this world.

Prayers to the Steel Mill

Prayers to the Steel Mill

Whoever said New York is the only
City that never sleeps should visit a
Steel town to witness a graveyard shift.

Convoys of men climb into old
Chevy pickup trucks with dented
Tin lunch pails at sundown.

They carry leftover home-cooked meals and
The sensation of their lover’s last kiss down
Green Street and up Valley Road.

Their headlights are brighter than the glare
On the windshield of their buddies’ hearse
During the funeral procession last week.

The employee parking lot is
Filled with more souls than the
Church was for his service.

The crucible doesn’t care about the
Clockwork of their hearts and what
Winds their gears for this shift.

It gapes its flaming jaws and consumes
What the foreman schedules.

Their wives sit up late with the lights on
And set their watches by the echo of the steam
Whistle that marks the moment to stir the steel.

The judgment day they dread is not signaled
By the hoof beats of the Four Horsemen,
Nor Christ with a fiery sword.

It will arrive if the sounds of their
Husband’s tires never grace the stones of
The gravel road before morning light.

There is no sleep until the men
Rise from the graveyard shift.

By Christian Sammartino

My Voice #17

My voice: trains slamming on their breaks and coming to a sudden stop.


I’ve always been very shy and soft spoken. Often times, I let my voice blend into the background noise of the world. I also have a tendency to fall into silence and allow others to speak over me and forget the power of my voice. This series of small lines is a collection that attempts to describe and capture the range of my voice. This is my way of claiming a space for my voice in this world.

Currency of Summer 

Currency of Summer 

We played chicken with freight trains
For the cheap thrill of transforming the
Pennies in our pockets.

Railroad tracks along the Keystone Line
Gleamed with a copper luster under light
From the Dog Star and the solstice moon.

Those slivers of metal became more valuable
After they were squished by the weight of train cargo
And blessed by the red light of the railroad crossing.

The coins we minted weren’t trinkets
We could spend at the general store.
They didn’t belong to the government.
We created a currency for our neighborhood.

We stockpiled them in mason jars,
Traded them for boyhood commodities,
And made necklaces for our girlfriends.

I can’t say when the others cashed out.
Maybe it was the day they started earning
Bigger coin in the mines and the mills.

I walk the tracks at night, searching for the
Cents we lost beneath the splintered ties.

There is a rusty coffee can in my garage
Filled with distorted faces and Lincoln memorials.
I recognize those weathered shapes
Better than my friends’ faces.

By Christian Sammartino