I still can hear Antonio the poet,
white-maned, beret'd, slightly pompous
Boston/Cambridge open-mic éminence grise
in the final year of his life,
voice resonant above the chatter
of Green Street's Charlie's Tap,
as he recited his Italian translation
of Dickinson's Letter to the World.
That last line, still resounding in my soul
after nearly thirty years:
giudicatemi con tenerezza!
And you, Elena, kindest reader
of my wretched first drafts,
sister and teacher
from whom my soul learns peace,
friend whose voice
is strength and consolation--
judge tenderly of me;
giudicatemi con tenerezza.