GENOVA MEAT MARKET, circa 1935
A photograph by Theresa Mitchell
On the New York sidewalk
The portal with metal-doors is open,
Where meats are delivered to the basement
Of the Genova Meat Market.
Hanging in the window is a plucked chicken,
Links of sausage, a bare-naked rabbit,
Half-a-carcass of pork lacking its head
And facing the storefront window,
Two piglets summarily killed, and hung
Like Mussolini ten years in the future,
Upside-down by their hind-legs.
Sprigs of parsley festooning the corners
A fresh and wholesome look
In the morning of several day-old meats.
There is a poster hung in the window,
The Rossini Opera Company, advertising Rigoletto
At the Pompeii Auditorium,
On Sunday, December 13.
Featuring four famous performers
And their tiny portraits.
One a square-headed fellow wearing a feathered boa.
Another with a cape, striking a Caravaggio pose,
Like The Denial of Saint Peter.
The third singer could be an Italian grandfather
Turning back to look
With an eye toward tragedy.
And the other, a bloated, over-wrought singer.
All, men in love with their own voices.
For the widow in black, hair-in-a-net
And stockings rolled, who patronizes
The Genova Meat Market mornings,
Lives for the sorrow, loneliness
And the Metropolitan Opera on the radio Sundays.
She need go no further,
An Italian butcher-shop in New York,
A performance of dark-haired singers,
Moustaches, sideburns, and starched-aprons.
Stephen Barile long-time member of the Fresno Poet’s Association. His poems have been published extensively in several print and online publications, including Ovunque Siamo. He is of Italian-American descent