Where do you come from? is WordPress Erica’s prompt for this week’s writing challenge, Digging For Roots. Scan 42 My grandmother, Maria Giovanna Colangelo, chases the fat brown hens

through dusty blue grass and scrub on the hillsides of Avigliano,

peels fresh figs and splits open their pulpy redness with her freckled hands,

carries water up steep hills, past tall cypresses, through iron gates

to the piazza where Mussolini exercised on Saturday mornings.

My grandmother prays to the Madonna as she polishes the altar rail,

strokes her father’s hand and whispers in dialect,

offers purple berries to her husband and sings lullabies to her children

behind the shutters until the day she sails on the Duca D’Aosta to Ellis Island,

registers the mole on her left cheek and scratches her mark on the paper.

My grandmother, Alien Number1051939.

Toni 12/4/14

6 thoughts on “DID SOMEONE SAY #TBT?

  1. Toni, my grandmother is also an Italian immigrant, originally from Foggia. She often told the story of how when they arrived at Ellis Island her mother kept her hand over my grandmother’s wrist so the authorities wouldn’t notice a rash that she had developed. She was so fearful that they would not allow them into the country. Have you been to your grandmother’s hometown? I hope to visit Foggia someday.


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