Kenneth DiMaggio

What did card games have
to do with liquor but whenever
all the old folks played gin
rummy in the kitchen it was not
long before R rated family- 
stories and if your grandfather
shot a man in Sicily and his brother
did his jail time so he could
go to America is that why
all the police officers in
your family could never arrest  
some of your cousins or uncles
while Great Aunts or even
grandmothers died insane
after giving birth to litters
from which the boys grew up
to be cops or gamblers while
whatever the women became they
tied their tubes after two critters
and what was a putana or a
finocchio but there was a female
and male relative living in exile
because one had a lot of boyfriends  
while the other was a hairdresser
and “God strike them dead!” 
the old folks cried, “if they ever
come into this house and corrupt
the children!” who were stealing
cigarettes & loose change and even
sips of wine beers and especially
the licorice-flavored anisette
while the old folks told stories
about family members who
would never corrupt us 

Kenneth DiMaggio is a professor of Humanities at Capital Community College in Hartford, Connecticut. His work has been published in Plainsongs and The Main Street Rag