La Cucina Siciliana

It is likely that the house at 128 Rohr Street

No longer stands, is not inhabitable or in a shambles.

Yet somewhere within its remains, without a doubt

Alive and just a memory away, near my heart,

Is the kitchen, on the second floor.

The square footage no more than an Italian, two-wheeled scooter.

In that space my Grandma created food delights

Aromatic, thick with sauces and herbs:

Baked bread with the ends sliced for me only

To dip into fresh sauce or olive oil;

And, if heaven was happy, a small clove of garlic

Right off the grocer’s shelf not an hour old.

“Mangia,” she’d say. “Luigi eat.”

She was oval as an egg; like Humpty Dumpty.

Her hair fashioned in an intricate and tight bun.

It was taboo to see her loosened hair; she was widowed.

We were famiglia — family, you know — and we were friends.

She spoke a puzzling alien language brought here

From another world to preserve culture, and yet

We understood by love, by sagacity and by trial and error.

“Luigi, ven acà,” she would say. “Cumma here. You washa-da table.”

“Telefono, Luigi, telefono.”  “I’ll get it Grandma.”

“You helpa you Granma. Huh?”

It was Grandma’s kitchen — a Sicilian kitchen.

© ljcarro

sept 2009


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