Salami Is Your Talisman

                           for my parents


The word arises during an Italian lunch

of yeasted bread and mortadella we share

across the metal screen of your bedroom window

mask removed, you indoors, me outdoors.

Thank God you’re on the first floor

not hovering on a second or 13th.


You want salami next time.


It penetrates your ritual afternoon nap

and you are temporarily healed

by this dish, with its salt

now streaming down face as tears,

calling out to your long-dead friend Carlo

provider of fermented meats and cheeses

and conversations that cure loneliness.


And perhaps he is here again with you

as you try to rise from bed to greet him

strong in that moment, leg and shoulder

unfettered by fracture and fear,

warmed by this cold cut made for times

of meager portions.


You put face and hands against the window,

and I become a palm reader.


One Response

  1. I love this Italian-flavored personal poem. Gabriella speaks of ritual meals and love of family and friendship that transcend the physical realm of living and dying. During this pandemic, Gabriella’s poetic memories take on deep meaning to all of us who love.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *