I didn’t know infants in arms until

Written by Kiki Petrosino

Kiki Petrosino graduated from the University of Virginia in 2001. She spent the next two years teaching English and Italian at an international boarding school in Lugano, Switzerland. In 2004, she graduated from the University of Chicago with an MA degree in Humanities. Her thesis, a manuscript of original poems entitled Star Silo, received the Catherine Ham Best Thesis Award from the University of Chicago. Kiki is currently an MFA student at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in 42opus, and Forklift, Ohio.

Designed by Rob Weychert

Rob Weychert is a graphic designer, artist, writer, and thinker living in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. A great deal more can be learned about Rob and his work by visiting his web site.

I didn’t know infants in arms until

the Italians used it, carrying their babies through the war in a cotton dark of elbows, bombs and pamphlets snowing the marketplace and men putting tarps over their flats of salt cod. Then I came home and my mother said, your sister was an infant in arms. But I couldn't think how she belonged in that kind of hurry, trailing cookies over my mother’s shoulder and pulling at her wishbone necklace, breaking it. My mother, who wore tennis shoes even when Loch Raven Blvd. iced over and saw possibilities for me as one of Robert Palmer’s backup girls, did carry us occasionally but never hurried, snapping half a piece of white gum and asking us did we each want half too. I haven’t had any gum in weeks, nor seen the ground without salt. Winter trash circles the dirty football pitch across the way. Plastic bags, gum wrappers, it doesn’t look good. Having once slept on the Vaporetto all trash smells wet to me, cheese rinds and old newspapers logged in water, especially when I fold my elbows under my head, the water and trash splitting into gasoline colors, and peanut shells moving lightly around the boat. What a smell. I couldn’t bring it up in Baltimore—we don’t eat the same things here, we have highways, it’s different.