She took to the road early,
turning her face East
Away from the small railroad
town where her immigrant grandfather
Sold groceries to cowboys and
But no one recognized her name.
Arriving in her youth, she
tentatively placed her feet down as divining rods
On the narrow cobblestones Paul
No one there had shared steerage with her family.
Dinner tables piled high with
Sunday's best were long since covered with asphalt
in the city with broad shoulders.
Only drowsy, wine-soaked eyes
met hers along the Chesapeake.
Bowing her head, she passed the
old flagship church in South Philly.
True north she found his store
at the edge of the market,
Falling out from the rest of the
buildings like a torn piece of lace.
Shiny cannoli tubes, stock pots, strainers and randomly hung
Yellowing photos of boxers past their price, Mussolini and the Pope
Her hand closed around his cigar
stained, sausage fingers, his sweater's
Comparing origins, he had, in
fact, heard her name before.
Turning to her Irish immigrant
husband, the shopkeeper asked,
Did you get permission to marry one of our girls?
A familial smile parted her lips
The small Calabrian dove in her
breast eased it's fluttering--
back its wings, and calmly closed its eyes to rest.
-Mary Ann Adams
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