Italia

The culture of my city, was not my own;
it was one of oregano and garlic,
of names I'd never heard, nor could pronounce.

 

But the other children taught me well.
Fettucini Alfredo, canolis, tira misu -
I learned them all.

 

I was stuffed with linguini at friends' homes
and met their uncles Giovanni and Fiore
who would say,
"Bellisima, you would have made a good Sicilian."

 

I heard Sinatra from their windows each night
and passed red, white, and green fluttering
from their porches,

 

until Vivaldi felt as natural on my tongue
as gelato.

 

 

Rachael Lee Hoke