Poetry by Lisa Marie Paolucci

“Italian American Vegan”
By Lisa Marie Paolucci

I ate braciole in Bensonhurst for years
In Park Slope, too, and Borough Park
My grandmothers lined them with salami
And encased eggs in the centers

There were so many kisses preceded by pizza and wine

Dinner dates relaxed when they saw mozzarella in my mouth
She’s not too difficult, they’d decide

I’m new at saying no to the things I used to love
Packages and jars
That filled miniature shopping carts I
Pushed down narrow 18th avenue salumeria aisles

I’d saunter past short ladies in black wool coats
Proud that I knew a bit that they knew
The mouthfeel

Now I turn down a different aisle
Scoop Sicilian olives, red peppers
Marinated mushrooms
Tuck long loaves in shopping bags

I try not to tell anyone as I
Slurp pappardelle through puckered lips

- Lisa Paolucci is a Ph.D. Candidate in English Education at Columbia University and Assistant Professor of Education at St. Francis College. She is also a former high school English teacher. Currently, she is involved in narrative inquiry with Italian American teachers in New York City.

Copyright©2020 by Lisa Marie Paolucci. All Rights Reserved.