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Sunday, December 02, 2007


by Rochelle Ratner

as he stomped on grapes in his father's vineyard, as a child, back in Italy, with everyone else in his father's family. His bare toes already dizzy from the wine. Not in these heavy boots. Not in slum America, where the best job he can get is in a Chinese restaurant. Buffet, no less. No tips. Off some stinking alley. He lifts his foot. He stomps on his mother's grave, then his father's huge hand, then his brother's ass. The same brother who refused to come here with him. He grins for what seems the first time in months. The garlic smell wafts up. It burns his eyes and nostrils.

Rochelle Ratner's latest poetry books include Leads (Otoliths Press, 2007), Balancing Acts (Marsh Hawk Press, 2006), Beggars at the Wall (Ikon, 2006) and House and Home (Marsh Hawk Press, 2003). She is the author of fifteen previous poetry collections and two novels (Bobby’s Girl and The Lion’s Share) both published by Coffee House Press). More information and links to her writing on the Internet can be found on her homepage.