My grandmother taught me secrets: how to
the skin off a tomato, how to crush herbs
in the palms off my hands, forcing them to fly.
Her back curved and bent over the old dented stove. She
whispered recipes like spells as I
them back as mantras
grasping my soft, white palms with her wrinkled brown fingers
long and thin. Her golden rings flashing in the
window filtered sunlight. She
off orders, threatened hexes,
while her wooden spoon stirred and mixed her mother’s cast iron. The
My mother practiced magic: incantations
in the backyard, she
day-lilies and gathered Iris, covering the house
in vibrant blooms, sparkling against the wooden window
sills cracked with chipped paint. She
flower petals across our tiny kitchen. A forest enchantress
wonder for her tiny supplicants. We plucked peppers
in the dusky sunset and slurped spaghetti at supper. The corners of
our mouths bloomed red roses from the acidic tomatoes she had
called in from the vines, speckled with soil from her garden
watered by her blood and tears.
Talia Borochaner currently teaches High School English Literature and Writing in the Greater Philadelphia area. She has a B.A in English Literature from Arcadia University and a M.S.Ed from the University of Pennsylvania. She is a third generation Italian-American. Her great-grandmother emigrated from Messina, Sicily to Philadelphia. The female Italian-American experience has been very influential in her life and writing.