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Spring 2011


- R. Baldasty
Beloved Albatross
- D. Bastianutti
From Trã Bãn
- K. Cain
The Current (La Corrente)
- L. Calio
Down with the King
- M. Cirelli
May Mass – 1957
- L. Dolan
- G. Fagiani
Persephone’s Devotion to Her Mother
- M. Fazio
- V. Fazio
- D. Festa
L’Amour, L’Amour on Summer Afternoons (L’Amour, L’Amour D’estati Filuvespiri)
- M. Frasca
- S. Jackson
- W.F. Lantry
Little Swift
- R. León
Since You Asked
- M. Lisella
Dublin 2010
- V. Maher
39 Fifth Avenue
- C. Matos
Sunrise in Sicily
- A. O’Donnell
Watching Monzú at Work
- F. Polizzi
L’incontru (Rendezvous)
- N. Provenzano
Propriu Quannu Sta Scurannu (When the Day Is Almost Over)
- N. Provenzano
Bones (Le Ossa)
- D. Pucciani
- E. Swados
Mount Etna
- G. Syverson
Poet Jack Foley Says, “We’re Not Writing for Eternity
- J. Wells
Lord of Winter
- A. Zanelli

Delia De Santis

Dinner for Three

      “We should go out for dinner together – the three of us. To be civilized,” he says.
      I am in the kitchen and I have a knife in my hand. I picture myself placing the blade on one side of his face, just above his cheekbone, and slicing right into his apple round cheek. When I am done, I will hold the piece of flesh in my hand and look at it. It doesn’t mean anything to me. It’s a clean piece of flesh – not a trickle of blood to it. No mess at all. Who needs a messy mutilation?
      I don’t say anything and keep on working. I am cutting a squash into cubes. The skin is tough and I have to push really hard to get through it. But I don’t mind; I have good strong wrists.
      The palms of my hands are getting coated with the orange color from the squash. I know that just soap and water will not take it off. I’ll have to use bleach and it will make my skin feel tender and sore. But that doesn’t matter. I could pour a can of acid on my hands and he wouldn’t care. That’s because he has her hands to think about. Those slender, young hands caressing his neck, drawing him to her.
      I wonder what he thought the first time he kissed her. He must have forgotten I even existed.
      “How does the Olde Country Steak House sound?”
      “Homey,” I say, smiling.
      Now I can actually say I know the pain of smiling. Only a month ago, if someone had talked about it, I would have been skeptical. I would have doubted there could be pain in smiling. No, I wouldn’t have believed. But I believe now all right. It’s as though I have taken a knife and cut a hole where my mouth is. Carved into my own flesh.
      “Ruth,” he says, shaking his head.
      He wants to chide me for my sarcasm, but he knows it wouldn’t do any good. Besides, he has no right to reproach me anymore. He’s moving out tomorrow.
      “Ruth,” he says again, leaving the name hanging in the air like an object that can’t be put down. I know that sounds weird. A name is not an object, let alone one that can hang in the air. But under the circumstances, I have a right to some insanity.
       Yes, he’s looking around for a place to let the name rest now. He can’t stand to leave it suspended like that. It has to be placed somewhere. His head turns here and there. What about the top of the buffet? No, not there – not enough room. Too many pictures. Our four children and their spouses; thirteen grandchildren – our family.
      “Nana, why are you getting a divorce?” five-year-old Megan asked me yesterday. I was at my daughter’s house babysitting.
      “Oh my little darling,” I whisper, hugging the child so hard I nearly break her tender ribs.
      “Why, Nana?” she asks again.
      I make her sit on my lap. “You see Megan . . . you’re too young to understand.”
      She combs the top of my hair with her little fingers.
      “Do you understand it?” she says, kissing my forehead over and over again.
      I am not a person who cries easily, but yesterday I cried. And damn it, I am doing it again now. A tear has just fallen onto the back of my hand, but when he comes to stand beside me, the tear is not there anymore and I am glad. I avoid wiping my eyes so he won’t notice anything. I have my pride.
       “I’ll make the reservations,” he says. “Dinner for three. The Olde Country Steak House. We’ll talk. Be friends.”
       After he has spoken, he still doesn’t move away. I don’t want him close to me anymore. I associate his nearness with betrayal. We were walking together in the park when he first told me – the sleeves of our windbreakers touching.
       “Listen,” he says now, leaning toward me. “I still need your friendship. You know that, don’t you?”
       The squash is all cut up. I put it in a baking dish and cover it. There’s still lots of time before supper – I’ll use the microwave anyway and it’ll be quick. I wash my hands, but I have decided not to use the bleach after all. I will let the orange color wear off by itself.
       After, I clean everything on the counter, leaving the knife till the end. I run cold water on the blade; I know hot water will dull a blade. I hate a knife that won’t cut, that isn’t nice and sharp.
       The tap is running full blast. The blade gleams underneath the water.
       “What are you doing, Ruth? What the hell? ”
       I pay no attention to him, but after a while I finally turn the water off. I wipe the knife and put it away. It takes me a minute longer than usual to close the drawer.
       “For God’s sake. Are you all right?”
       Standing very still for a moment, I take a deep breath. Briefly, I glance his way. I never did like blood, and I am not foolish enough to believe that a wound wouldn’t bleed. But I say nothing of this to him. What is the use?
       Going to the closet, I get my coat. I am beginning to enjoy going for walks alone. This is the first time I have admitted this to myself. But from now on my life will be my own. I don’t owe anyone anything. I certainly don’t owe this man anymore than I have already given him. I trusted him.
       “I guess I’ll forget about the reservations,” he says, holding the edge of the door. “You don’t want to go, do you?”
       I don’t answer. I don’t have to. I never said I would go. In fact, I didn’t even hint I would. I am not ready to offer friendship. Maybe I never will be. The choice is mine.
      It’s autumn and everywhere the leaves are falling. I feel a little like a leaf myself – one newly detached from a branch. I am falling and feeling scared, but heady, too – the wind tossing me here and there before I land – the earth so soft this time of year.