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