On urban dig we unearth relic of our pasts,
a feast

for the eyes: 'tween girls
jewel tones, hair tamed by scarves.
They circle Carmine Street, hold
Le Decine del Rosario,
larger-than-life, petaled beads
slung on gold silk chain.

Just behind, two younger ones,
angelic in wings. And between,
small boy - the gilt crowned king.

          [At May processions we formed
          crisp pastel line, wore floral wreaths,
          sang, O, Mary, We Crown Thee
          prayer beads draped across white gloved hands—
          the ominous black-and-whites keeping us in check.]

On sensibly shod feet, they wait
for Padre to direct four
strapping lads to set the shrine—
all gold and cerulean blue—
firmly atop movable bier.

Our Lady of Pompeii encased,
too wide to safely rest.
They finagle,
finally process.

          [Before IRS seized cash
          plastered on shrines to fund
          state coffers, Old World Italians
          pinned precious bills
          to San so-and-so or
          Santa Maria
          hoping for salvation.]

Flags above the crowds—
    Brazilian community
    Filipino Sodality—
small pools of faith.

Grim-faced ladies in somber suits
and blue-ribbon badges—
last to fall in.

          [Every Tuesday, the Sodality of Mary met
          at the Immaculate Conception
          for good works, fund-raising,

Across the street, a vecchia
bears witness from her window.

          [Small of stature, I wished
          I were tall so I could see it all
          from the back,
          free from worry of missteps,
          a harsh slap.]

Turning toward Bleeker Street and Amy's Bread
I say to you: The only thing that's missing
and behind me, right on cue,
an old woman sits and sobs.

About the Poet

Linda Simone has found poetry magical since 4th grade. Her 15-poem sequence, "Stations of the Cross," included in the anthology, Alternatives to Surrender, was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Cow Tippers won the 2006 Shadow Poetry Chapbook Competition. Her recent work was included in the anthology, Lavanderia, and is forthcoming in Alimentum's Menupoems broadside, and in the anthology, Wait a Minute! I Have to Take Off My Bra. She lives and works in NYC.