Poetry Post: ‘Cenzo and Bupe, A Love Story

This following is another Luxation Poem.

‘Cenzo and Bupe, A Love Story

How I loved to visit your house,

the small white ranch surrounded

by rose bushes

taller than I ever believed

I might grow.

I loved you, of course,

but I loved your dogs

most,

and the way I knew

they would do anything for you.

You understood the wisdom

of the wolf,

so you named your first Doberman

Lupa, for the great pack animal.

I remember your barrel-chested pride

when Lupa finally caught

and you kept her largest pup

and named her Bupida, the thorn

in Rosa’s side.

Her ink-black hair tightly tied in a bun,

your wife would stir the pot of sauce and scowl.

                               “Bupida si chiame il cane.

                                 Io, solo Rosa.”

                                “Sweetheart he calls the dog.

Me, only Rosa.”

I dreamed of you

years after I grew

beyond your rose bushes,

when my world first began

to cleave open.

You sat on the altar

of an empty candle-lit church,

wrapped in a hooded brown flannel cloak,

like a Capuchin monk.

At your flanks were two Dobermans,

sentinels at your side.

“Don’t worry,” you had said,

“I’m going on vacation.”

Then, my dead grandmother

and some old lady in a white Cadillac

burned rubber outside the church

and I woke up.

The next morning my mother telephoned

and told me you had died that night

while playing cards at your kitchen table.

I wondered if Bupe had been there;

I couldn’t imagine

she would have let you die.

I recalled how she had saved your life

years before

when a man with fear in his eyes

and a gun in his hand

tried to hold up your fish store

during Holy Week.

You had told us the story

as you sipped your demitasse and anisette

after Sunday dinner,

Bupe, a statue at your side,

eyeing you like a young girl

in love.

To be looked at that way –

how must it feel?

© 2003 Maria Mandarino

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2 thoughts on “Poetry Post: ‘Cenzo and Bupe, A Love Story

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