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     The Literary Review
                                                                          Issue 8

Page 82

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My friend Joni
was given up
for adoption
when she was
just days old.
More than thirty years later,
the thought
that she was abandoned
still wounds her.
Joni tells me the story
of her hurt
as we sit in front of a campfire
in a cool, Utah canyon,
me, six months pregnant
with a child I already treasure.
When Joni finishes crying,
she rests her head
softly against my belly
to feel my unborn son stir.
We both try to comfort her,
and fail.

  Catherine Gigante-Brown__

© Nitza Tufino: IMG 1010

© Nitza Tufino: IMG 1010

Buddy, Dying*

In his last weeks,
he said nothing
about it
but when he looked
in your eyes
you knew
that he knew.

There were
no tears,
no apologies,
no promises,
no lies,
no drama.

There was just
the truth—
that he was dying—
and it was

  Catherine Gigante-Brown__

* Buddy died on October 10, 2002


To look at the old man,
sitting on the park bench
in the softly worn jacket,
near Shore Road,
gently nodding asleep
Il Progresso fluttering
from his wrinkled fingertips,
you wouldn’t think
that anyone cared for him
or loved him.
You might think him utterly alone.
But that wasn’t the case.
In truth, he was the patriarch
of a loud, loving family
who lived a few blocks away.
He came to this country, alone,
at the age of 21,
on a great steamship,
the Giuseppe Verdi,
found work sewing costumes for showgirls,
and later dress suits for men,
fell in love with a dark-eyed girl named Luisa,
had three children,
bought a brick house in Bay Ridge,
made his fortune,
though small it may be,
it was big enough for him.
Many years retired, the old man takes solace
in the park bench, in the quiet reverie,
pretending to read the news in Italian.
Mostly, he just sits and thinks and remembers,
perhaps the first time he kissed his wife,
the day his first grandchild—a boy named Gary—was born,
or recalling the melody of his favorite aria
from Madame Butterfly.
He is often late for Sunday supper,
but they always wait for him,
careworn jacket flapping in the sea breeze,
like the wings of an ancient black butterfly,
going home.

  Catherine Gigante-Brown__