I climb the steep path
to the stone house
where my father and his father
lived before me,
where ancient olive trees still grow.
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.
My eldest daughter married at seventeen,
bore five children.
The grave of her youngest, Pietro,
is in the cemetery next to my wife, Sofia.
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.
My youngest daughter
tends the garden,
tomatoes, basil, peppers, onions,
but always there are flowers - periwinkles,
bougainvillea, oleanders, cyclamens -
to pick and place on the table.
Wendy Schermer was born in Detroit, grew up in Philadelphia, and is now a resident of Arden, DE, where she has lived since 2005. Wendy shares her home with a dog and two cats, who have been steadfast companions since her two sons became adults and made lives of their own in Philadelphia. Wendy has been writing creatively for many years and is a member of several writing groups that provide friendship, support and inspiration. Her poetry has been published in Dragonfly, USA Today, The Fox Chase Review, The Rainbow Journal, The Cicada’s Cry, A Collection of Dance Poems and the collections of work by participants in the 2010 and 2012 Cape Henlopen Writers’ Retreats. In 2014, one of Wendy’s poems was chosen for the University of Delaware’s Random Acts of Poetry Series.