tell myself every time.
Only a couple familiar Hebrew prayers
are somewhat faintly comforting.
Shivas are real disturbing
with their covered mirrors,
over plates of food
and crashing dishes.
And on the other side
for my Italian relatives
& world beyond;
the many wakes.
they're these perfect strangers to me;
going only to show respect.
So I was surprised
to see how much this man I never met -
Looked like his brother
my Italian grandfather,
I never really knew.
for that funeral back in '75.
Mom throws her pocket book down,
almost missing me.
And my Nonnie says, "Ouf! What's she got in there?"
hope I won't have to say too much.
'Cause what can you really say?
Outside mostly men smoke Marlboros
from the hard boxes,
and drink coffee from Dunkin' Donuts.
Corrine then Lorraine (my cousins)
reassure me with their knowing looks
as we walk the steps out.
30 June 1997, Winthrop, Mass.
Copyright ©1997 Dena Barisano