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Spring 2015


The Harbor of the World
- O. Arieti
Those Italian Boys
- I. Backalenick
Friendless Featherheads
- G. Beck
- K. Cain
- J. Campbell
King Street Comanche
- B. Foster
- L. Giulianetti
Poets Out of Service
- M. Johnson
Irish Farmer
- L. Kumar
Communion Portrait
- J. Lagier
- M. Lisella
Connemara 2004
- C. Lloyd
Carrying Grandpa
- M. Lyon
The Saying of Mass
- C. Moore
Taking You home
- J. Mulligan
- P. Murray
- P. Nicholas
Resurrecting Easter Sunday
- L. Pierro
Dublin Spirts
- F. Polizzi
Nun Ponnu/They Cannot
- N. Provenzano
- K. Retzlaff
- C. Steinhoff
Strawberry Pickers, Cyprus
- J. Tarwood
Melina's Tarverna
- B. Thomas
No News
- R. Tremmel
- R. Volz
Broadway Bagel
- C. Wald
Taking My 8-Year-Old Daughter to Hear Seamus Heaney
- L. Wiley
My Mother Had a Relationship with Good Bread
- C. Young
Sicilian Traces
- A. Znaidi

Spring 2015


- J. Amato
Moving Day, 1897
- D. Corrigan
My Madeleine
- F. Dunne
A Review Of Italoamericana: The Literature Of The Great Migration, 1880–1943
- G. Fagiani
The Immigrant's Grandson
- J. Giordano
Review of The Glass Ships
- R. Crupi Holz
A Sunday Afternoon
- R. Iulo
Dark Idyll
- T. Sanfilip
The Choir Book
- G. Sullivan
Review of My Two Italies
- T. Zeppetella

Featured Artist
Richard Holz



Thomas Sanfilip

Dark Idyll

There was that special languor in the air, the sun beating down in a kind of African mist, and the eyes squinting across the water to get a glimpse of Tunisia, but all that was visible was mist and water rolling in languid waves that glinted in the late afternoon light. I was stunned by the silence around, the warm breezes cresting the water rustling the infinite varieties of palms that Enzo told me were all over the island. You see these, he said as we drove along, pointing a finger ahead and along the road. Some of them bear fruit, he said, others short and tall, none of them the same. In every direction groves of olive trees and grape vines cultivated up to the peak of nearly every hillside swam away into the island's mountainous interior. The first arrival of warm sirocco winds cooled by the Mediterranean for only a short time dispersed over the land. I marveled at the men and women completely unperturbed at the heat.

We drove up a twisting road high over a deep cut valley to a desolate village perched at the very pinnacle of a huge outcropping of rock. No one was around, but Enzo assured us there was a place where a family served exquisite food, but it was the middle of the day. Perhaps they were all in the fields below, but he assured me they would serve us. A young man in white shirt and dark pants stepped out of a doorway hung with long beads to see who was outside walking in the empty streets. “Can you serve lunch?” Enzo asked, and though the young man looked surprised, he nodded his head. The wood interior was dark and cool compared to the air outside and the atmosphere lulled us at a table where we ate olives, antipasti, bread, wine and ricotta, fresh with olive oil on the table to dip our bread.

As we ate, three young children – a boy and two girls – appeared, at our table. One of the little girls insisted on hugging me. Their mother wanted to lead her away, but the little girl insisted. I asked the woman if she ever dreamt of children. She had and began to describe children in her dreams, but the descriptions were so ugly and horrific that I was shocked. The woman’s face increasingly contorted to the point where she became unrecognizable, so ugly and shocking were her words that even Enzo sitting nearby leaned closer to take in their full gist. We left her sitting at the table where we had eaten such wonderful food.

On our way to the car, I noticed a rooftop garden above our heads, two trees silhouetted against the sky, three people emerging and moving on a narrow balcony. Workers in white t-shirts and blue jeans leaned over the balcony's edge, their arms moving as though washing its stone pediment. From where I stood they appeared to be polishing the stone as though in appeasement to something strange and dark, enthralled like ants crawling over a dead carcass.

The sunlight could not have been clearer or the wind softer or more pleasant. We paused at a fountain to fill a water bottle before leaving when a young man dressed in exactly the same clothes as the young man at the restaurant walked up to Enzo and began talking to him. I could not hear what he said, but the expression on Enzo's face changed dramatically from intent listening to utter bewilderment and shock. Even though they are standing right next to me, I could not hear what the young man was saying. I strained to hear him, but there was dead silence everywhere as though he was speaking behind glass. His lips were moving, but I could not hear what he was saying. When he finished, he turned and walked up the stairs from where he descended. “What did he say?” I asked Enzo anxiously. He was unable to speak, shocked at what he had been told, not knowing what to say, confused, bewildered, stunned. “What did he say?” I kept asking, but he never answered, his face in shock, unable to speak.

That evening we watched Enzo make sure his olive trees were getting enough water from the simple but effective irrigation hoses he constructed inside his grove and around each tree. Later he held up a cantor of olive oil pressed from the very trees we watched him water that evening before his wife Carmella served us dinner. She corrected my pronunciation of certain Sicilian words and was warmed at my feeling for the language.

Somehow after dinner our discussion centered around my religious beliefs. I tried to explain to Enzo that I saw divinity in nature, but he could not grasp it, though his wife Carmella understood exactly what I meant. A matter of rhetoric, not truth underlying appearances. Poems harboring tears, tears harboring light, light harboring realities. The loss, the gain, the hours, existence at the beat countering death at every stroke. You're a poet, Enzo said.

That night I had a dream I was lying next to Carmella on her right while Enzo lay to her left. She was in between us holding a baby in her arms. She looked at the baby, but leaned toward me in an intimate, tender way. My left arm was around her as I ran my fingers through her light, silky hair. She said nothing, all the while nestling closer and away from Enzo who seemed to be sleeping. When I touched her hair again, she gave in completely to the pleasurable sensation and did not look at the baby, but rather cast her face downward and closed her eyes in pleasure. I looked into her face and admired the beautiful angles of her nose and nostrils and the color of her skin. I glanced at the baby as I touched her hair and saw the baby had fallen asleep just like Enzo, but it appeared to me almost unreal, as though the baby died. I was surprised at the baby's change in demeanor from living and smiling in Carmella's arms to still and appearing dead.

The next morning I woke early and stepped out on the balcony of our room that looked out over the Mediterranean. The water was placid and calmer than I imagined. I caught sight of a boat at a distance making its way along the coast, cutting a perfect v-shaped wake on the surface of the water. I thought it might be on its way to where fishermen had pulled up an ancient bronze satyr a few years earlier. Maybe they were looking for another one like it because everyone was so fascinated by the first.

By chance or fate I found two charred pottery handles still smelling of earth and fire on the site of the ancient Greek city, Selinous. When I walked the barren site, the earth was still scorched. I asked Enzo if many of them were found. He said hundreds and hundreds, so it must have been a slaughter. My eyes kept pouring over the southern horizon penciled in by a dim, white mist. Were the Carthaginians moving en masse to destroy the few remaining temples? I promised Enzo I would leave when I was satisfied the city was no longer in danger of being ravished, when birds could rest again on the temple pediments without fear. The next morning he brought me to the roof so I had a clear view of them. He assured me everything was all right. They would still be there when I returned, but I did not believe him. It would be a long time before we did return, but by then I knew it would be too late.