Linda Lamenza

Left-Handed Poetry
Two weeks post-surgery
episode of Breaking 
Bad briefly holds
my attention, extra large 
cucumber shows 
up in the garden,
my sister gives 
me a shimmering
tattoo of a mermaid,  
in honor of her birthday.
Oliver Sacks dies 
on August 30th,
while I am reading 
his biography.
I create a plan 
for the first day of school, 
though I won’t be teaching.
I pretend to go 
see the new Mission 
Impossible movie: 
Rogue Nation. 
Dog retrieves 
his lost chew-toy
from under the sofa.
I FaceTime 
with Madeline,
compare pains 
and past-times.
While the Ink-black 
scab on my elbow 
flakes off,
I practice printing 
with my left hand.

Absently She Mutters, How’s Your Arm?

My mother sits motionless
except her lips
which move in prayer.
She tells the old stories in Italian: 
dusty wine bottles
in the cave under the bottega
during the air raid, 
the sirens whining.
My eight-year-old mother running 
atraverso gli uliveti,
skirt flying like the parachute
she chases, until it lands
and she catches up with it.

Pasta Sonata for Eight
Uno per persona, my cousin tells me.
I click each one under the table,
crack and divide,
let them slide into the center,
take their place
I turn the crank slowly on the Atlas Mercato,
it squeaks just a little.
I feed the dough by the slice,
producing long pages of pasta.
Place them under a linen cloth to rest.
Finale: Allegro con spirito
Boiling water awaits each past sheet
pressing against the steel strings of the wooden-framed
chitarra until the impression shows through.
I strum the strings, with the back
of my hand, in a sweeping gesture.
It rings out, a discordant twang.


Linda Lamenza’s mother was born in Abruzzi and came to the US when she was nine years old. Her paternal grandparents were from Naples. She was raised living with her Italian grandmother, Nonni, with whom she only spoke Italian. Linda is now a poet and literacy specialist in Massachusetts. Her work is forthcoming or has appeared in Lily Poetry Review, The Healing Muse, Main Street Rag, The Comstock Review, The Tishman Review and elsewhere.