Joey Nicoletti


My Father’s Retirement Party


The Ides of March. Patent leather shoes nailed to the floor. They belong to Danny, my father’s boss of 12 years. A cake shaped like a freight train engine, and 10 pizzas, 5 Sicilians and 5 regular pies on the break room pool table. Danny stomps into the room. Veins as thick as cigars bulge from his neck and forehead. The Animals sing We Gotta Get Out of this Place on a turntable. My father hands Danny a hammer: “I thought this might help you better than a shoehorn,” he says. Their mutual friend Steve bursts out laughing. Danny sneers. Then his thunderous chuckle falls in red pepper flakes, Romano cheese dust, and cake crumbs in Steve’s Chevron mustache.



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Joey Nicoletti is the author of three poetry collections, most recently Thundersnow (2017) and five chapbooks, including Capicola Slang, which is forthcoming in April of 2019 . His Pushcart Prize-nominated work has appeared in The Rumpus, Ovunque Siamo, Aethlon, Italian Americana, and elsewhere. Joey teaches creative writing at SUNY Buffalo State College.