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they insist we drop the hyphen
and cover our accents in sandpaper
while we learn to hold baseball bats
and build new empires
our tongues turning Romantic vowels
to hard English
 
but the accordion still squawks
her sorrow
over piazzas and shadows descending
the clickety-clack of carriage wheels
the honk of Signor DiCenzo’s new motorcar
 
while the lady in lavender
bids bona sera
from a balcony every night, the sad woman who lost
a child to a fall, like so many of us. I whisper those words again
waving across shimmering lights and the whoosh of tides
but now the words are in English