My Grandmother, her mother, my mother and me
Photo credit: Italo Vardaro. His mother and his daughter.
I imagine them walking down rocky paths
Towards me, and beyond me.
Dark, Italian women carrying water in terracotta pots on their heads.
Graceful and strong.
I know their stories, their secrets, these women I have never met.
I see them when I watch my mother -
strong arms to knead her sacred dough or to sweep a tiny child high
in the air and then to
her chest, tight, to make them squeal.
I saw those women in my grandmother
as she worked in her garden. Coaxing life from barren ground -
sharing the bounty.
Baskets of peppers, eggplant, lettuces, tomatoes.
Bowls of fusilli, meatballs, zeppoli.
"Life is a miracle", she'd say softly to herself.
And so it is, with these women in it.
And now I see them in my daughter,
the boundless energy,
that quick mind,
the hand, open and extended to the world.
I turn now, as my daughter turns,
and see my mother walking towards us
down crooked mountain paths.
Behind her, all those women
dressed in black.