Where do you come from? is WordPress Erica’s prompt for this week’s writing challenge, Digging For Roots. 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.