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Owens, Elisabeth, R. (ed.) / Encore: more of parallel press poets

Murabito, Stephen
Eating pepperoni on Good Friday,   p. 44

Page 44

Eating Pepperoni on Good Friday 
After stealing the magic stick from my father's meat case, 
I try to think of where to go. Not into the closet off the kitchen, 
Where the smell will hang with that of salty boots; not down 
To the cellar with webs on my face, or out back to the '56 Chevy. 
I must go where only my punishment can follow: I go up to the roof 
High over 8th Street. Only God, above the oaks, can spot me, 
The weight of my sin hard in my hands. Oh, it's terrible, I know, 
To eat Pastucci Brothers' on Good Friday, everyone in dark rooms, 
The thin Bible pages turning slowly to the Sorrowful Mysteries. 
And I'm caught as the chimney stack hisses red with anger. 
Okay, okay, I accept it: I will pick each sandy grain 
From every last rooftop on 8th Street; I will be sentenced 
To an eternity of shingles, standing here forever, veils of steam 
From Friday flounder rising without me. Yes, but first, this bite, 
Teeth breaking salty skin, smell drifting straight up to Heaven. 
Stephen Murabito 
[previously published in The North American Review (Spring 2005)] 
Poet's Statement 
"Eating Pepperoni on Good Friday" is based on the real experiences
I had as a kid 
growing up on the corner of West Eighth and Oneida Streets in Oswego, New
York, where my father and mother ran a little grocery store. That is where
I proba- 
bly learned ninety percent of all a writer needs to know: Watch people because
they have the answers; work a little at a time but all of the time at something
love; do the heart's portion of your life's labor for the imagined other;
see how the 
beauty of the world emerges in the worn knife handle, the grain of the cash-out
counter, or the back-lit piece of sharp provolone. Oh, and every once in
a while, 
steal a stick of pepperoni, run to the roof, and let the world hit you like
the gor- 
geous freight train that it is. 

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