I was not always a maker of puppets
carving out loneliness in smiling faces –
nor, too, always this old man,
round spectacles perched halfway down
a Roman nose. My grey hair was once thick,
springy and as black as any witch’s cat.
Some cold nights before the fire I watch
red and blue flames flicker - life twists
and turns also, licks this log and then that.
I lost Loretta in Venice to a Gondolier.
She lives there still, beside the rising tears
of the Canałasso, with three sons
and a married daughter named Geppetina.
I misplaced God somewhere between Venice
and Sicily; on the road, beneath the stars –
He should have come close to me, instead,
like a shooting star, I felt the dearth of Him.
For a time the pain of His exit left me breathless
and fearful of each emerging, impermanent, night.
It was His loss that gave me the courage to fashion,
pretending I was part of a burgeoning family.
Pinocchio was the forty-fifth, the only one with a heart
and whose eyes I found beneath riddled bark; a son
who appeared to move even as the wood was being carved.