Emily De Ferrari: In the Belly

Vox Populi

1. In Aliquippa

The mill loomed large

and after dark, nightmarishly

glowing red

on the river road we would take

before I was five

to my grandmother’s

sweet, warm and yeasty 4 rooms

above my grandfather’s pool hall and

sporting goods shop,

where he

publicly spat on his grapes

so no one else would eat them,

and climbed the steps

to lunch with us,

a secretly pressed coin

into my hand, for ice cream,

before descending back to work

to set the balls in tidy

triangles, sell penny candy

and fishing lures

made by my uncle

with great talent.

But later, that uncle,

with great perceived supremacy

refused to sell

hunting guns

to anyone whose skin was not white,

whose racism

instilled in us

wild fear

as he flashed

the white power salute

and posted White Power signs.

But my grandfather,

living by then

after the sudden death

of my…

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