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May 2014
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.
Cynthia Thompson
Written by
Cynthia Thompson  Massachusetts
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