Cancro Fra Diavolo

Italiano: Galleria Umberto I (Napoli). Mosaici...

Italiano: Galleria Umberto I (Napoli). Mosaici sul pavimento. Cancro (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As he sits alone in the dark,
the fireworks glow of the TV on his weathered face,
Tony watches the 2:00 AM programma
on the Italian language cable channel,
just as Big Nancy hated. He preferred watching
this way instead of setting the DVR
like Little Nancy showed him.
Big Nancy never learned Italian and never,
ever considered cacio, soccer, a sport, even though Tony
fought to learn English and about gladiatorial
American football for her.

Just before dawn he thinks for the thousandth time
of his Mama’s visit and how the ancient
pensionata stayed up all night to play cards
with Big Nancy, even though neither had any idea
what the other was saying.
Tony remembers smiling at how their loud
and pained attempts at communicating
woke him and how once they became so quiet
he groggily looked in on them as his Mama
tried explaining something about a recipe
for shellfish: “Si, yes, cancro fra Diavolo,”
Big Nancy nodded and repeated.

Tony turns off the cooking show and heads to
the empty bed he avoids until dawn:
Cancro fra diavolo, Devil’s crayfish.
He’s almost too tired to wonder why she couldn’t
tell him in English?


One thought on “Cancro Fra Diavolo

  1. Joe, this is like a cut into a old movie about life for Italian immigrants in 1920’s New York, or perhaps a screen play for a future one. But, whatever it appears to be, it certainly paints a charming picture, with a touch of melancholy, that tells so much more than the short story that it appears to be.. if you know what I mean.

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