Maria Giura

Maria Giura



My father’s dream was to work hard

and make a lot of money,

to have customers come in droves and buy

dozens of pastries,

so the salesgirls—including my mother—

would have to pull out the largest boxes

and have hands quick enough

for the electric tying machine.

His dream came true.

In the 60s and 70s,

people all over Brooklyn circled the block

that bordered Borough Park

to bring pastries for their Sunday visiting

and to order three-tiered wedding cakes.

But occasionally there was a customer

who’d come in for just one sfogliatelle,

the most expensive and complicated pastry to make.

It was usually an old man

whose clothes were as bent as he.  

The salesgirl would lift it from the showcase

with a piece of wax paper

and place it in a crisp, white paper bag

that she slapped against her thigh to open.

Smelling the sale from the back,

my father would step into the doorway,

and glare at the man,

the cost and labor rolling out in his head.

He’d wipe the back of his greased hand

against his mouth, watch the man leave

with the sfogliatelle, cursing him as he went.



Maria Giura’s first poetry collection is forthcoming from Bordighera Press. Her work has been published in Prime Number, VIA, Italian Americana, Lips, Godspy, and Brooklyn Film & Arts Festival. She has awards from the Academy of American Poets, Paterson Literary Review, and Salem College and was a finalist for the Milton Center Fellowship for her memoir-in-progress. Maria has taught at St. John’s University, Montclair State, and SUNY Binghamton, where she received her PhD (