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Contributor: Ron Yazinski

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In an old Italian neighborhood bar,
Three elderly women sit like the Fates on their stools.
The one in the middle looks like a prom queen emeritus,
While the ones on either side are her attendants,
Just as they were fifty years ago.

Each has dyed her hair blond and wears a thick glaze of make-up
Making her skin look like puffed pastry.
Each sips a water-colored martini,
Studying the room for men, a life- long habit,
Like making the sign of the cross in front of a church.

From the opposite end of the bar,
A short fat man who they know and tolerate
Like the harmless nerd who let them copy his geometry notebook
After talking to them for a few moments,

And eliciting some forced smiles,
He pulls from his jacket pocket a large thin package and lays it on the bar.
Playfully, he reaches his arms around the waist of the middle woman
Making her cringe as if he might grab her breasts.
Instead, he unwraps a large sopressata.

Looking at the shriveled, brownish- black foot-long sausage
The three women simultaneously laugh
And begin comparing it to dead lovers,
Saying things like “Carlo was half that, just like his father;”
“And young Gino never got it hard so I couldn’t tell you.”

“Tony felt that big when I had him take me from behind,”
The Hall of Fame prom queen says,
Which makes the one on the left stop laughing.
The speaker immediately realizes the mistake
Of mentioning her friend’s dead husband.

For a moment there are only silence and glares,
Until the queen says to the man who brought the sausage
“See the trouble you men always start with that.”
Then to the bartender, “Bring a sharp knife
“So we can cut this into bite- size pieces.”

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Ron Yazinski is a retired English teacher, who with his wife Jeanne, divides his time between Pennsylvania and Winter Garden, Fl. His work has appeared in many journals. His one collection is SOUTH OF SCRANTON.


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