John Cirignano

John Cirignano


An Older Woman

‘First, I clean outside,

then I clean inside;

I water my plants

and think

what I’ll make for dinner

—tonight I’ll have some

beans and potatoes—

I listen to Mass

while I’m working—

Santo, Santo, Santo, il Signore..

Now and then

I get melancholic…

My parents are gone,

my two sons live up north,

my daughter comes by now and then,

still, I get lonely;

I used to live in the city;

I moved here to be near my aunt,

my mother’s last sister;

it’s peaceful here,

but I get sad;

I feel lonely,

so, I clean—

first the outside,

then the inside;

I water the plants and think about

what to cook

for dinner…


John Cirignano grew up in Cambridge, Mass, and went off to college in Iowa, finishing a Ph.D. in classics at the University of Iowa in 1993. John met his wife in Rome; they have three children and live in Burlington, VT. He has been teaching Latin at Rice Memorial High School since 2006.