100 Days of Gladness: Day 20

NaPoWriMo: “Padre Castaldi Saw Me for a Second”

2 min readApr 3, 2024
photo by author

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 him.
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.

Tina Lear has written since she could hold a pencil. She’s completed four musicals with her long time collaborator, writer Elise Forier-Edie, taught yoga to inmates at Rikers Island, performed for thousands at Folk Festivals nationwide, and driven cattle in Wyoming. Check out her debut fantasy novel recently released, and her collection of poetry: Partial Views. If you want to interact with her about books, join her Website, Facebook Page, Instagram, and LinkedIn




Novelist. Poet. Musician. Buddhist. Quilter. Animal lover. Visible grownup. Hidden child. Secret dancer when all alone. Makes good bread.