Grandfather’s plants


for my grandfather
Angelo Stanizzi, 1894-1967

da Ecstasy among Ghosts(1)
It didn’t matter –
the July sun straight up,
the different language;
all his life he bargained,
speaking with his hands.
He’d bring small tomato and pepper plants
to The Meadows
and the strip of land
the state loaned him.

At 73,
with weeks to live,
he refused his sons’ help
with a flick of his fingers,
as if giving them
a backhand,
and in the hottest sun
he planted 750 plants
in one day.

When he was gone
I took a salt shaker
and walked with 5 uncles
for 2 days
between rows of plants
and filled a burlap bag
with thick bell peppers,
oval plum tomatoes.
I’d wipe away
the fine dust
with a corner of my shirt
and bite into shining shining green
or love’s red fruit
hot with sun.

[1] J. STANIZZI, Ecstasy among Ghosts, Antrim House, Tariffville, CT, USA, 2007 – © John Stanizzi. La silloge consta di un proemio e tre sezioni, ognuna delle quali introdotta da un frammento poetico in corsivo: I. you will face; II. quietly now; III. the sun closet around our sorrow. La prima sezione comprende 8 testi; la seconda 11; la terza 24.