Sunday at Nonna’s
Walking through Nonna’s iron-latticed door
in Bensonhurst on any given Sunday,
we were enveloped by the savory
odors of freshly-stuffed sausage,
onions and garlic, sizzling in a pan,
the licorice scent of fennel
hand-picked from her yard.
We would find her, still in black,
though widowed some twenty years,
her apron caked with grease and marinara,
dispensing anisette cookies to the youngest cousins
all the while putting her tongue on the roof
of her mouth behind her front teeth, hissing
whenever anything displeased her.
That sound sent chills up our spines, young
and old alike, and we knew never to complain
about the plastic shrouding the furniture,
the gargantuan crucifix looming above
the dining room table. Not to complain. Period.
But once the sumptuous pasta tumbled onto plates
and forks were lifted, their silver glinting
like Vatican treasures, we all laughed, paused, and raised
our glasses in a toast to Nonna, the matriarch, the arbiter
of order, the feared, the beloved, the keeper of the feast.
“Sunday at Nonna’s” first appeared in The Poet’s Cookbook (Bordighera Press)
by Calder Lowe
Modesto Branch, CA