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Alyse Sammarco

Alyse Sammarco is a writer and attorney who was drawn home to the Ohio River Valley after years in both the West and the South. She is popular in greater Cincinnati’s open mic scene and has had poems published in the online arts journal, Aeqai, and elsewhere.  Alyse’s poems draw from the stories and landscapes of her Ohio Valley home. Largely narrative in nature, they speak to her experience of growing up female.


I open my mouth and like spring waters,
they seep out, soaking the earth
until they find their course,
navigating the contours of rocks
and pockmarked game trails of suburban deer.
Gravity pulls them over and under tree roots,
carrying away the leaves that festered all winter.
Suddenly, the gunk and its smell,
matted, wet and moldy,
are gone. I’ve found the courage
to say what I mean.

My mother said that I have holes in my memory.
She would visit my house and leave clues for me,
a bible with her notes,
a book entitled “Finding a way out,”
a teacup with bourbon.
Clues to remember what filled those holes,
to save me from my gas lighter
when he turned the lights down a little more each day.
He hid in the basement until the slightest insult
sent him piercing through our floors
like a bullet through glass.

I am Pisces, a creature of water,
shape shifting to fill the buckets
he left out for me. Until I
spilled out, leaving puddles everywhere
for the boys to splash on rainy days.

She said I have holes in my memory.
Pieces broken off when they were too sharp.
I threw them in the stewpot until they melted,
eating them for dinner so that
they couldn’t poison us all.
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