Poetry of the Body Contest Third Place Poem: The Legacy of Nicholas Greene by Kathleen Scavone

   It's rare day that a little boy named Nicholas Green
          doesn't cause me to stop and reflect
               about his shortened life,
       each time I take in the beauty of Bodega Bay.
      Here is where the little boy grew up, packing a
          lot of love into his scant seven years,
              before a terrible tragedy
 occurred in Italy - a country who reveres little children.
  It was during a family holiday in southern Italy in 1994
             when little Nicholas was shot
          by robbers or hitmen on the highway,
           creating a heartbreak so profound, 
           it changed the lives of his family
              into unimaginable bleakness.
         It is said that even the people of Italy
      pivoted into a collective, deep soul searching.
 Then, like a miracle, out of all of the oceans of grief 
          came the decision to donate little
       Nicholas Green's organs to Italians in need- 
           Calling it the 'Nicholas Effect'
       organ donation rates increased spectacularly
         in a country, that, prior to the tragedy
             had been the lowest in Europe.
   Seven recipients benefited from Nicholas' organs:
                        A heart
                      Two kidneys
                     His pancreas
                      His liver
                   and both corneas
 Dozens of parks, streets, squares and schools pay tribute
            to little Nicholas Green in Italy,
      And if you visit the Bell Memorial in Bodega Bay
 set amongst the cypress trees near the dunes by the coast
       You will witness the majestic tower of bells,
          Sent to California largely by Italians,
      cow bells, school bells and church bells topped
 by its centerpiece - a bell which heralds from Italy's
    Marinelli foundry and blessed by Pope John Paul II.
           The bells' chimes will remind you 
      just how precious and fragile are our lives.

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