di stefanoI have lived in important places, times

—Patrick Kavanagh

I could tell you everything that happened on Linden Street the year the Berlin Wall fell. That was the year the Hanrahan boy grew his hair to the middle of his back and rode his bike down the block at seven a.m. sharp every school day. The Perry twins, with red hair longer than the Hanrahan boy’s, vied for the affections of Dino Taglione and the older girl won. The pipes burst on 20 Linden, and we lost the love letters my grandmother had bundled in hatboxes and stored in a corner of the cellar. Masty Hubba danced for loosies and beer in front of the Brickyard Tavern all summer, and somebody kept stealing the copper gutters off Saint Mary’s rectory roof. Monsignor Brigandi kept replacing them, and he would curse and pray as he paced the block, throughout all the high holy days of Ordinary Time, like Achilles in his tent.

Dante Di Stefano’s poetry and essays have appeared recently in The Writer’s Chronicle, Shenandoah, Brilliant Corners, The Southern California Review, and elsewhere. He was the winner of the Allen Ginsberg Poetry Award, the Ruth Stone Poetry Prize, the Phyllis Smart-Young Prize in Poetry, and an Academy of American Poets College Prize. He currently serves as a poetry editor for Harpur Palate and he was recently nominated for a Pushcart Prize.

Artwork by Stephen Knezovich