Every time I make meatballs
I think of my grandmothers.

I wonder how far down the trunk
Of my family tree
One would have to travel
To find the first woman
In my lineage
Who made meatballs
For her family.

It is not a family recipe
I found it on the internet
And changed it a little
Here and there.
Even so, I hear them
A whisper over my shoulder,
Guiding my hand
As I add breadcrumbs
And garlic
Until they tell me
To stop.

Every single time
I salt the water
For pasta
I wonder
About their tears.

What did they dream of?
What did they pray for?
How many fires
And hot stoves
Did they stand over?

What did they have to survive,
For me to stand over mine
As I make meatballs for my family,
As I pray for my child,
And all who will come

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