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Litany for Those Awaiting Bill Mazeroski at Home Plate after His Home Run to Beat the Yankees in the 1960 World Series photo

Blessed be the millwrights on the open hearth that awaited him; the nurses and elevator operators; secretaries; plumbers; electricians; the Napolitano and Abruzzese women hunched in sweat shops; merchants; butchers; barbers; pipe fitters; sheet metal workers; tailors; chefs; poets; dancers; singers; painters; the sausage maker; Italians and Jews; Poles; Blacks and Germans; Slovaks; those along the rivers and precipices; the usher; barmen; stone cutters; bricklayers; baker; salt crew; dock workers; ditch-dogs; rummies; cops and firemen; the women who sliced chipped ham and scooped cole slaw at Isaly’s in East Liberty; Rose Maggio at Fashion Hosiery on Highland Avenue; the waitresses at Gammon’s; Rose at Tootie’s; Francene Renzo at Sears and Roebuck candy counter; Rita Sweeney at the Suicide King; Harry Eldridge, the greasy red rag in his pocket, the little box that said Harry on his shirt, my dad, a Camel between his lips, leaning out the Rambler’s window, the words Couple of dollars of Good Gulf, Harry, smoking out of his mouth; Cigar Sam and Union meetings at the Braddock Local; Joe the milkman; Pete’s and his ice cream truck; the Go-Go girls at House of Capri across the street from our duplex; the hobos; the beat and broke and pissed; carpenters; cooks; janitors; street-sweepers, bookies; stiffs; pimps; morticians;  junkies; priests; prostitutes; vets with no legs and tin cups on Penn Avenue leaning against Kresge’s window; blind guys you gave a penny and they gave you a pencil; garbage men, who jumped off skidding trucks in dead winter, spread their tarps on the grass, and emptied 55 gallon barrels of filth into them, hoisted the bundles, then trudged righteously into the morning; Mrs. Tommarello, who handed me any cookie I pointed to in Stagno’s Bakery; Blessed be Sister Carita, the only nun who loved me, dear, beautiful girl strangling in her wimple, who led the class daily in prayer that the Pirates defeat the Yankees, that Kennedy defeat Nixon; the crows lining the telephone wires, calling out as he crossed the plate.


image: Steshka Willems