Cousin Rocky (In memory of Rocco Marchesani)
First cousin and our First boy, all innocence, filled with hope and wonder,
beautific boy, good boy with dark, lush wavy hair and big brown eyes
filled with thick lashes that stared at me like an East Indian godís
from the photo I cherish when you were 5
and patiently sat beside me on Grandpa’s lap and
I on Grandma’s lap, just christened and looking other-worldly in a long white gown, my hands spread wide open as if giving some benediction;
first girl Grandchild who loved you so. My Hero, big boy, idol
a sibling nearly, when you lived beside me
and taught me how to play and love the Brooklyn way,
harsh and wild we were,
when I hit a ball with a stick, just like a boy youíd say
even when the other boys made fun of you
You’d let me play! in those amazing Brooklyn days,
“Crooklyn” like the Spike Lee phrase, with its circuitous ways.
I remember you running all the way to Buscemi’s
for those succulent Italian ices, authentically made
in every flavor, so yummy at the height of a blistering summer;
melting in the heat we raced to our heart’s desire,
playing all day at the beach or under an open hydrant
dodging the forceful water spray.
We played and we played,
and we ate and we ate, laughed and cried
in our cowboy and cowgirl clothes and other magic shows.
I enjoyed you so, until you moved away from Avenue U to Avenue Y!
Why, why? I asked my mother, Rose
who knew how I much I missed you.
Then we all moved from Brooklyn
and everything changed. Family fractured far and wide;
we only glimpsed each another through time.
Suddenly you were a handsome young man
and I a shy 13. Then a college girl in Albany
and you already a businessman soon to marry.
I still have the photos we took on that joyful occasion
when you wed Judy we danced all day into night.
Later you had two beautiful sons: Jeffrey and Brian!
Like me, you were most at home by the Sea.
We shared the memories and cherished those meetings,
Coney Island, Manhattan Beach, Far Rockaway,
Jones Beach, the Jersey Shore, Dominic’s Farm
our extended family gatherings in summer.
You moved to a sea town, Long Beach and I to a tropical island,
but something of Brooklyn has always remained.
The last time we met you had spoken of Rome,
our ancestral ties; your heart already broken, Judy ill
again we met not far from the seaside.
Then so swiftly you left
joining Judy, Uncle Joe, Grandmas and Grandpas, Uncles and Aunts
at the table of light
partaking of the true nourishment
in the Eternal city.
Copyright ©2005 by Louisa Calio. All rights reserved.