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KRAKOW

You came here to search for the sound within the sound --
Something that taps on the cobblestone streets, then floats
like the dust down from ash-covered walls. It's
a whisper that leaves you with nothing to say -- Just
stretch your mouth open, tilt your chin up as if
angels were clutching your throat.
So you shuddered at the call of the golden trumpet
that beckons each hour from St. Mary's Cathedral,
and you danced to the accordians' manic red blare
as the Gypsies scramble onto the trolley.
On Florianska Street you threw coins into the open cases
of the mother with her cello and son with his flute
who play Bizet's Toreador song each night.
And then you bought a tiny wooden box --
hand-carved and engraved with enormous gold roses
by a vendor on Grodzka Street.
You dropped in one gold, dirt-covered zloty
then shut the lid to trap the sound inside.
And now you must carry it home, to Sharon
as she lies in the hospital, last stage of bone cancer.
After six years of waiting, now -- Now you know.
She needs to hear that sound before she dies.
JEANNINE M. PITAS
Jeannine M. Pitas, a Cheektowaga native, is a student at Sarah Lawrence College.

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