the gentleman of the bocce court, a poem

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that other time and other place are history –
and so too the gentleman of the bocce court

i am seven, this is part of my world

the men play bocce of an afternoon
while the women sip vin santo
and savor the nutty taste of a
biscotto before a nap, then time
to start dinner, set the table

my friend’s grandfather, Pop-Pop,
the yellow man, i think of him,
jaundiced skin, yellow teeth,
fingers stained with nicotine  . . .
he’s the neighborhood champ

and heat rising from the ground,
the grass growing as fulvous as
Pop-Pop, he throws the pallino –
it’s like summer always is here
heat, sweat, and bocce ball …

the one they call il Signore taunts,
mean and rude, he swears at Pop-Pop –
no matter, we know who is best,
better than anyone; yet little girls
say nothing, steering clear of
il Signore, a.k.a. Frankie Fists

© Jamie Dedes, All rights reserved

 

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