Italian Women and Other Tragedies
By Gianna Patriarca
these are the women who were born to give birth they breathe only leftover air and speak only when deeper voices have fallen asleep i have seen them bleed in the dark hiding the stains inside them like sins apologizing i have seen them wrap their souls around their children and serve their own hearts in a meal they never share.
we don’t discuss the distance anymore returning is now the other dream not American at all not Canadian or Italian it has lost its nationality. in the sixties we came in swarms like summer bees smelling of something strange wearing the last moist kiss of our own sky. we came with heavy trunks empty pockets and a dream. i was one of them tucked away below the sea line on the bottom floor of a ship that swelled and ached for thirteen days our bellies emptied into the Atlantic until the ship finally vomited on the shores of Halifax there, where the arms and legs of my doll fell apart into the sea finding their way back over the waves. my mother’s young heart wrapped around me my sister crying for bread and mortadella. we held on two more nights on a stiff, cold train headed for Toronto where the open arms of a half forgotten man waited.
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