The food I ate in Italy deserves a litany of praise:
was an art unto itself—
spicy sandwich meats resembled marble.
After so many prosciutto lunches,
my new-day’s hunger found like patterns
of flesh and fat—in unexpected places:
the colored stones of church floors,
pillars, museum walls.
I stood at counter-tops most afternoon meals,
the exertion of the morning’s tour
forgotten with a cappucino—
shards of cinnamon breaking froth and foam.
In my messenger bag, parmigiano
wrapped in napkins, with pine-nuts—
kept the vehicle of my body
moving through each ten-mile stroll
with kiwis—tart juice and seeds—
bits of bread gloving fresh butter.
Something should be said
of saffron-flavored risotto,
soft, thick, oil-glazed grain,
served with bits of wild boar—
the minestrone, broad lasagna, ravioli, tortellini,
veal scaloppini, crisp zucchini—flavors overwhelmed.
In between the marinated mushrooms,
fish with lemon rind, the lamb and duck,
avocado salads, cream sauce, pesto—
gelato gave smooth sweetness to the tongue.
The food I ate in Italy deserves a litany of praise.
An art unto itself, it satisfied so deeply
I expected to rise each morning cured of hunger—
forgetting hunger, like longing, is a ritual.
Each time it is satisfied, it readies, deepens—
for the next emptiness.
That is the mercy of Italian cooking—
to understand that cycle,
anticipate with ready warmth,
paint empty stomach walls
with fleeting frescoes.
Available from Finishing Line Press.