Ten Poems by Leonardo Dellarocca

Uncle Frank said he knew the woman who carried her dead husband's finger
in a jar. She carried it as she walked to the corner store to buy Lucky
Strikes, carried it beneath an old kitchen towel to the newsstand on
Mezzerole Street. Uncle Frank held up his left, then his right hand,
indicating that it was the man's middle finger floating in the dark
putrid liquid. He'd never seen her without it. Her last days in Brooklyn
were when gunrunners and bootleggers hired blank trucks to distribute
guns and booze. That's when she became that woman - always with the red
kerchief and blackberry brandy on her breath. That summer while sweeping
the sidewalk in front of her door she told Uncle Frank why her husband
never gave in - he was a stubborn Calabrese. He owned the small
vegetable store on Skoll Street not far from the Williamsburg Bridge.
Weekends he drove the horse and carriage selling peppers and zucchini
door to door and nobody was going to tell him to cough up money for some
local gavone. Nobody. Fuck you, he told them, fuck you.