Old Italian Ladies walk around in long black dresses A handkerchief tucked up one sleeve for blowing little noses They are soft and round, with flappy forearms And give greasy lipstick kisses as they clutch you to their chests
Old Italian Ladies smell like olive oil and flour And they give out oozy chocolates with red cherry sauce inside Their enormous laps are like lumpy old recliners They sing songs about amore' as they rock you off to sleep
Old Italian Ladies let you go down to the basement Where the air is cool and shelves are lined with jars of pickled green beans And wide mouthed bottles bursting with clumpy red tomatoes They use creaky wooden step stools when they need to reach up high
Old Italian Ladies pierce your ears with just a needle A bar of soap, a lump of ice A loop of string to make the earring And a tiny glass of anisette for the tears after the sting
Old Italian Ladies were the matrons of my childhood Intoning rosaries, invoking saints Making garlic studded meatballs Dispensing love as freely as hard candy from their purses.
For my Grandma, Filomena Maria and my Auntie Stella Maria, sorely missed.