Invocations at Two and Three AM

Joanne Zarrillo Cherefko
2 min readJun 11, 2020


My youth passes from my sides,

Startled into scattered crystals

That blow from me

Like blue goblets

When winds bearing mindless words

Cut through the decorum of smiles,

And I realize that I alone

Am my shadow beside me.

Fold me so these silent

Screams cannot echo,

But be absorbed

And distilled into release

When I, unfolded,

Melt back to me

And greet the dichotomous foe.

Breathe me into being real

To become unreal again

Through forces

Whispered through my pores.

I emerge from these pages

As distinct half-notes

Of ashes that I left behind

In traces with

No uncertain pattern,

Afraid to claim this world as

My own design.

Give me whispered flows

That know not me

And purge in denial of themselves.

All this to become real

And less, much less.

Fragments return to

Create a mist

Before new immersions

Which must release

Themselves into this air

Of corners where

I rather let the

Night take me,

And let the words

Read to me my scope

Of horror, buried

In stately tombs of disarray

Among costumed mourners

Whose countenance

Is one shadow of lies.

I dissipate and scatter my crystals

On these meek pages;

I stand between and

Around each letter

And know not if

I support them or they, me

Or if this symbiotic

Turn is horizontal

Or vertical betrayal of self,

And if I will remain castigated

By lower-case platitudes

Turned profound around

My four o’clock blues.

Section me so

My pieces are smooth

And lay me on

The ashes of this bed

Whereon all but

The shells have died

And await renewal.

Take me and bury me again

Until I blossom clean to write

The breath of startled images

And the death of those

Whose rustling

Is but a shadow

From a dream sequence.

Then set me to a rhythm

Which omits notes

Once removed from being

And make me the song

That whispers through

These morphemes.

Make me graphic

And the analysis complete

To release only the feel.

Sounds slide and letters bleed

From my wounds.

They hurl themselves onto the

Pyre, making

Immortal only the smoke

And ashes of what

They might have been

And what I will never be,

Trapped inside

These charred ruins

Of templed faces.



Joanne Zarrillo Cherefko

Award-winning educator and published poet: A Consecration of the Wind, Fragmented Roots, and Souls Tilled Like Soil. Website: