My grandmother always frowned
At her reflection.
“La vecchiaia è brutta,” she would say
With a sigh as she looked down
At her hands,
Where she saw deep folds and wrinkles
In her skin,
Like they were one of my grandfather’s shirts,
Which she was unable to smooth out.
With resolve, she chose to drain the water
From her eyes into a pot,
Where it began to boil
The raw dough she kneaded
With the valleys of her hands.
She served us dinner with tomato sauce
From her veins,
And each dish was topped with a basil leaf
From her garden.
Once my relatives were fed,
Their stomachs began to swell,
With greed, as they asked for seconds.
Eventually, they saw their way out,
Leaving the house empty,
And my grandmother began to clean
After all, they always came back
When they were hungry.
By Mel Spiridigliozzi