top of page

100 Days of Gladness: Day 20

NaPoWriMo: "Padre Castaldi Saw Me for a Second"

Photo by Tina Lear

All the way down the hallway,

Padre Castaldi would announce himself,

tapping time with his cane, yelling,

“BASTA! . . . BASTA! . . . BASTA!”

Casa di Cura San Rossore in Pisa, in Italy —

They put me there after I cracked up,

walking down the street in my nightgown,

muttering to myself, unresponsive to friends

because I’d hallucinated The Void coming after me...

Padre Castaldi and I were on the same floor.

He liked me for some reason.

He would TapYell his way down the hall,

come in my room, and check if I was there.

He would yell “BASTA!”, tap-tap-tap, and move on.

I was beyond caring. The high voltage

of a hard marriage had burnt through my body,

buzzing past my will to live and curdling

what was left.

But one day, I surprised the diminished priest.

I had a little wooden recorder with me

(who knows why), and a melody came through

me to meet the rhythm of his tapping cane.

A tiny moment of fun between us.

A tiny moment of contact.

A split second of you see me? (mi vedi?)

For an instant, we watched each other

from inside our sicknesses.

And all was well.


bottom of page