a poetry e-zine










Poems By Trina Scordo
King of Crushed Castles

Uncle Joe removes a splinter from my finger
with a heated sewing needle
teaches me about the gauges and ignition
of his 1975 red Ford pickup
lifts me on factory shoulders
above shouts that hit skin like rivets

On Mother’s Day
Uncle Joe bought Nonna a set of stockings
whispered it would have been better
had he never been born
3 months after the Secaucus factory layoff
Uncle Joe dies

in his Volt Street driveway
a massive heart attack at 52

Nonna sits in the soft blue glow

of 11pm television reruns
reflects in the rectangular living room window
she does not talk aloud about mourning
the still birth and miscarriage in Italy
diabetes or the yellowing skin of cancer
blindness or her glass eye

murmur of the GE air conditioner
the shocking cold air of the basement
sterile and damp like a mausoleum

Nonna wears Uncle Joe’s cameo
against her black dress
moments dangle like strands of dust
in the corner of her left eye

They fled from fascist fists

They fled from fascist fists
hid in train trestles as bombs fell
in arid fields of prickly pears
my aunt said they always had food to eat
no money, but always food to eat

a borderless triangle

they scatter from Italy
to L’Argentina

she said her village filled a marine ship
two weeks of sea sickness
the up and down of a landless dark blue
they arrive on Ellis Island
after Sacco and Venzetti
after the anarchists went underground

women work behind dead-end trees
in a factory sewing and stitching
men lay bricks and mix cement

in unfamiliar soil

I have seen the photographs

of singing before dawn
before I was born
under the grapevines
in the purple glaze of October frost
backyard bonfires
next to the tomato and squash garden
night time celebrations
of espresso and homemade wine

I see myself
in immigrant skin
olive eyes
born of sharecroppers
browned calloused hands
I search for pieces of continents
under my fingernails

Trina Scordo resides in Asbury Park, NJ and is a writer, musician and community organizer. Trina has been published in various anthologies such as Working Hard for the Money, Cat Breath, Big Hammer and the Edison Literary Review. Her work may also be found on Jerseyworks.com and Roguescholars.com.

Copyright 2008  Chantarelle's Notebook