Wendy Schermer, one poem


Sorano, Italy

I.

I climb the steep path

to the stone house

where my father and his father

lived before me,

where ancient olive trees still grow.

II.

I press the trees’ bounty into oil.

My daughters and sisters cook,

the aroma filling the house

with memories of recipes

handed down from mothers to daughters.

III.

My eldest daughter married at seventeen,

bore five children.

The grave of her youngest, Pietro,

is in the cemetery next to my wife, Sofia.

IV.

My middle daughter

carves a small toy each week,

lays flowers on her mother’s grave,

every Sunday after Mass,

a carved toy on her nephew’s.

V.

My youngest daughter

tends the garden,

tomatoes, basil, peppers, onions,<