September 8, 2014


My older sister Anna Buttaci Coppola was born September 08, 1936 and passed away of uterine cancer on October 22, 1999. Needless to say, I miss her everyday. What keeps me from the snares of constant sorrow is my belief that she is in Heaven, her reward for loving God and serving Him all her life.

These poems and pictures celebrate her life. 

First Holy Communion: 1943


I will remember you each day
In all my prayers and words I say.
Anna, how could I forget you
and all the happy times we knew?
It hurts to know you could not stay.

Those childhood years we filled with play,
The faith you had each time you prayed
And how my own faith you renewed.
  I will remember!

The time flew by-- too fast away!
And left our lives in disarray.
This much for certain will be true;
This much I swear in life I'll do:
    I will remember!

© 1999 Salvatore Buttaci

 Sal, Anna, and Joanie: Brooklyn 1948


I dreamed of you last night.
You appeared to me, young
again, healthy, and like when 
I'd tell funny jokes in the old days,
you were laughing uncontrollably.
That same laugh I heard throughout the dream; 
that laugh I remember most of 
all about you. Then I awoke
and tried so hard to hold onto 
the dream, but it flew away like
a bird homing towards its morning sky.
Dear sister, I can look up and
know you're safe up there
cradled by the night stars, my angel
walking freely  in the day clouds,
sharing laughter with the universe.

© 2000 Salvatore Buttaci

 Anna and Godmother Jennie Coppola: 1948


This morning again
I remembered you
and that same old 
something in my heart
grew weary of our separation.

It was the morning air,
the autumn breeze brushing
behind me like a passing soul
with your walk, your presence:
another day empty of you.

I remembered you 
again this morning
and your voice clear 
as rain said, brother, 
how can love ever die?

I remembered you,
prompted by this sigh,
this trembling, these tears
clouding these eyes--

I say to wherever you are
No way can love die!
then I lighten the weight
that pulls me down to sorrow
by lifting my head and smiling. 

I remember the two of us in 
a long-ago October free of grief 
and parting.  What of that day 
have I forgotten?
Which of us said what
to double us over in laughter?

© 2001 Salvatore Buttaci

 Anna and husband Ciro: 1957


in my early years
you took me under your wing
and taught me how to read

in my later years
you helped me spread my wings
and showed me how to hope

two years ago
you lay in a white nest
small, thin, featherless

before you tumbled skyward
on your last day
you said how much you loved me

© 2001 Salvatore Buttaci

 Mama and Anna at a picnic: 1995


These are the tears
Wrung from a body
Stretched on the rack
Of a torturous disease.

I saved these tears
This water that’s holy
That flowed from the eyes
Of my sister, a saint.

© 2008 Salvatore Buttaci

 Anna's seven children: Michael, Julie, Josephine, Louisa, Grace, 
 Anna Marie and Sal: 2014


My dear sister, gone from eyes yet weeping 
in this cruel decade of separation, 
still you visit my gray sleep and slay
demons with your beatific smile. 

In these slumber visitations, 
pretending sorrow never pierced my heart, 
I delight in your voice again,
clear as the memory of our 

joyful yesterdays. In sleep country, 
dying is an empty threat that leads nowhere. 
Fearlessly we two souls sit here
recalling those happy years together, 

how love is eternal––God’s sweet breath!––
Sister and brother hands clasp as one.

© 2008 Salvatore Buttaci

Salvatore Buttaci is the author of Flashing My Shorts and 200 Shorts, two short-short story collections published by All Things That Matter Press and available at He lives in West Virginia with his wife and love of his life, Sharon.