Johanna Hirshhorn

        I never really knew if Johanna Hirshhorn was actually Joe’s only daughter.
Jim Brodey made the match and claimed as much, and then he left.
It was my last weekend in Labor Day New York
before boarding a one-way Milan Alitalia flight
where I disembarked with less than 10 bucks to my name
and this sense of wonder
                                              what would unfold and take me far.
It was a blinding day, September, almost still,
when Flavio Lucchini came to fetch me.
It would be Giangiacomo, Montale, the irascible Nanda,
Ettore Sottsass when he was still taking pictures,
when he hugged me when he could.
In Olga Hirshhorn’s obit in the Times,
no mention of Johanna. Where art thou? Dove? Dove?
Perhaps she wasn’t Joe’s daughter after all.
Perhaps I’d been mistaken, misheard, misremembered.
Perhaps she was a long-lost grandchild dangling on that family tree.
Perhaps Jim misled me. Perhaps,
perhaps my memory is faulty after all,
as when I woke to the abrupt jolting of the Rome
Express.
                 All else is but a blur,
a flight from memory, a future without one, far from home.

More Poems by Gerard Malanga