Nick Bruno





The Shroud


Try as he may, he cannot step

on the paisley sweater


his daughter abandoned

on the bathroom floor,


one of its folded sleeves pointing

upwards to protect a synthetic life;


its position reminiscent

of how the garment’s fabric


conceals her pockmarked arm

shutting out her father


and the sun, a limb raised

to eclipse her almond shaped eyes.





No. 249 on the S.S. Saturnia



In the first year we migrated

to the great white north

the local church donated coats

to a family who could not conceive

of a winter’s cold that ate

into neural signals deadening skin

to match the look in our eyes.


My father’s vision went

from bloodshot to blurred,

facing the windswept snows.

My mother buffered the wind,

motioning us to walk behind her;

to step into the carefully positioned

tracks of her non-insulated boots.



When Uncle Mimmo came over

he would take me by the arm

and show me how an Americano walks

sometimes he’d tell me to imagine

that we were strolling in the piazza

in San Sosti - a place I had never seen,

loitering in the sports bar

by the Agip gas station

whose attendant, Michele, he said,

had always wanted a 1969 Ford Fairlane.


His eyes looking past me

at everything he’d left behind

that afternoon under a Calabrian sun.