Promises after Ellis Island

PROMISES AFTER ELLIS ISLAND(1)

Your names separate
from English sentences
and knock against the teeth,
small pits of words, hard as stone
and always what they always were,
despite the promises that must have
echoed off the high ceilings
in the Great Hall.

Tsue Pap is moving to yet another apartment
because they raised the rent;
he is frantic in the dirt cellar,
digging hole after hole,
looking for the money he buried one night,
drunk on Guinea Red.

Jit Ate is rocking and chanting,
waving the framed picture
of a young soldier,
telling and retelling the story
of her handsome Johnny Boy,
who never came home from the war.

Jah Doze, frying medallions of chicken blood
in a tiny cast iron frying pan,
is tightening the rag around her shattered right wrist,
pulling the rag with her teeth and her left hand,
the tattered bracelet squeezing
the break she could never afford to fix.

Zeta Zeen, the sexy one,
is flouncing across Albany avenue,
pocketbook locked at her elbow,
stocking seams nose-diving
down the backs of her legs
and into red second-hand stiletto heels.

And Sdunny Ale, pragmatic and kind,
is peeling an exotic banana for the very first time

[1] John L. Stanizzi, Dance against the Wall, Antrim House, Simsbury, CT, 2012. © JOHN L. STANIZZI. Tutti I diritti sono di proprietà dell’autore. Riproduzioni, anche parziali, dei materiali contenuti nel volume sono possibili solo previa autorizzazione dell’editore e dell’autore. La raccolta si articola in 4 sezioni: I. THE ROAD HOME (11 poesie); II. MOWING THE APPLES (15 poesie); III. AFTER ELLIS ISLAND (11 poesie); IV. MORE THAN ENOUGH (9 POESIE).