Anthony DiPietro

Mornings Are Mostly Made of Habits

science says we have 70,000 thoughts
per day, not counting
my impulse to jerk
the steering wheel and miss the guardrail,
not counting the taste of orange
wedges, nor the way their sugar makes my fingers
stick to one another, not counting
anything I do in the dark
or before dressing, because wash and brush,
shampoo and rinse, and socks before shoes
and tying the laces are habits
controlled by the lizard brain, 
not counting the lost treasure maps of places
I only visit in my dreams, not counting
the fact that I sweat or where I sweat
or the parts per million of my sweat
made of pheromones, and if I may say so,
I’m a fast processor, so I probably
think double that—140,000 thoughts per day—
and subtracting nothing leaves me with
140,000 chances to love, remember,
speak softly, surrender,
caress and undress and do dirty things
to you, darlin’, and in fact, those are your 140,000
thoughts too, which I know
because we are connected, I mean,
when we were two-year-olds running under
lawn sprinklers all summer,
posing at fathers’ knees for family photos
on different coasts, already an invisible
tether tied your ankle to mine, and thousands
more have been tied since then—intricate webs;
we are spider & fly and fly & spider as we lie
in our beds at night, whether
we lie far across the plains
and rivers from one another, as we often are,
so I bury my lemon seeds
every day, trying to make lemon trees, and you
cut gashes between your toes, where nobody
can see, a way to mark each time
you’ve thought of me, with love I know you still
feel, because that’s what my thoughts feed,
and with anger, of course, because
the brain generates heat
exponentially, repeating
what can’t be quantified
because I don’t know math but the line
connecting you to me is a blackboard
curve that approaches infinity

Anthony DiPietro is a gay Rhode Island native who has worked in community-based organizations for 14 years. In 2016, he joined Stony Brook University, where he earned a creative writing MFA, taught college courses, and planned and diversified arts programming. He is now associate director of the Rose Art Museum in Waltham, Massachusetts. A graduate of Brown University with honors in creative writing, his poems and essays have appeared in Notre Dame Review, Spillway, Washington Square Review, and others. He has received fellowships from Aspen Summer Words, The Frost Place, and Key West Literary Seminars. His website is