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Summer has come to Little Italy

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All of July is floating in the back alleys of Montreal's Little Italy: clan elders under a parasol strung with lights, vines over the trellises, impossibly high clotheslines festooned with baby garments under Maria Consolata's steeple, eight-foot hollyhocks that have escaped their rightful garden, children and their balloons, and the first, burst sunflower. I finally took my poet friend's advice and made espresso in my little mocha pot last night and put it in the fridge to have tonight in a glass with ice-cold milk. The landlord has cleaned out the basement and in our back garden is a washing-machine, the sewing machine and table that belonged to his late mother, rungless chairs and old chrome stools, and a pile of boxes. These hulk under the iron staircase on one side, and on the other sits my vegetable garden in which the eggplant has flowered, and my late efforts at sweet peas, radish, spinach and arugula still lie underground in a plot bordered by broom handles and string. The white and purple fig trees stand taller than all these things, their fruit small and beautiful, their leaves giant green hands. In the past week and a half our little family has eaten thirty-six pints of strawberries, and I have remembered to wear perfume.
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