“II” by Kevin McFadden.

While my father lay dying, I walked the streets of Florence,
his sentence unclear at almost a year’s ellipsis . . .
I battled street vendors and Catholic self-abhorrence,
gorging on boar and autumn cruciferous.
His grandparents were Tuscan. Everyone plainly
looked like a cousin, a gallows humor gotcha
for a peasant family strained through Pennsylvania-
at sixty-eight, he’d never pronounced focaccia.
Can anyone tie a tie from a diagram?
Dad stood behind me in the mirror where
he’d later see his father, minus the tie-tack.
I liked doing things on my own. Got it. Scram.
What might he declare? “The autodidact
has a fool for a master.” We each had that to bear.

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