Rodia's Valentines
Ralph C. La Rosa


Sam's hearts are silent testaments in stone,
some sharply etched in red-cemented floors,
and others raised as latticed pinnacles.

They pop from walls, reliefs of tile and shells.

Hearts rest on slender bars between the spires,
and tip to tip, like 8s, they scroll a post.

A few are separate icons of stained glass.

At times they even graced the tops of towers
to say what Sam had never said aloud:
he loved the citizens of "Nuestro Pueblo,"
the working poor, who always stood behind him.

They knew the meaning of his hearts.