Stephen Barile


            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