Remembering My Grandmother

A poem I wrote recently about my travels through Italy in spring 2019 after losing my grandmother unexpectedly just a week before her 95th birthday. She’s on my mind lately as the snow is melting and days are growing warmer. She died on Easter, which is fitting as she was the center of our family Easter traditions, baker of Easter casadella cakes and pizza gain. Rest in Peace Grandma Betty.

Migration

I fly away from you,

away from the wooden box

that holds your ashes.

Once I land,

swallows are everywhere

like the Scirocco

sweeping up from the south,

dancing like patterns on the robes

of the Senegalese women who sell wooden beads at the market,

black shapes cutting into blue sky.

They appear in Siracusa

where the old men sit lined up in the square,

brown hands folded in rest

and again in Sienna

spilling from the clouds like seed,

pouring over the city’s stone walls,

flowing out over rooftops.

In Venice they flutter above gargoyles like confetti

as if trying to escape tourists

who trail in pink plastic ponchos and rain boots

like a carnival parade

in and out of alleyways,

across ancient bridges.

They follow me to San Michelle,

the stone city of the dead,

mosaics and iron crosses,

mourning doves roosting like

stone angels above children’s graves.

There a chapel sits empty,

a row of wooden chairs waits

beside a candle lit by some unseen hand.

Finally silence.

My own angels resting.

The end of a migration.

©Kristin D’Agostino

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