2 Poems — Lisa Masé
What’s Worth Keeping
What if it didn’t matter that your parents
left to spend two years in Somalia,
ripped you from Ferrara to live
with estranged grandparents in Kansas?
What would remain of those days
eating boiled hot dogs with pickle relish
on white buns, going barefoot into
the backyard, crouching down for mint,
eating it but not daring to share it
with the second grade classroom?
If no one had told you your grandmother
was unstable, refused her lithium
and kept a locked kitchen drawer stuffed
with packages of cream-filled chocolate
cupcakes, you might have looked back
on that time with the fondness
that some have for their memories.
When you returned to Italy, it was not you
who emerged but a stunned girl wearing
the delicate gold bracelet her father
gave her as though to make up for it all,
a third grader who stayed after school
until she’d memorized her times tables.
The Sound of Glass Shattering
Fierce and cold, the Atlantic breaks
against a distant reef, crashing over
jagged coral with nothing but barnacles
that find driftwood and ride it to shore.
Against a distant reef, crashing over
white waves, you swim victorious with arms
that find driftwood and ride it to shore:
this is your ocean.
Beyond white waves, you swim victorious
with salt sculpting your silver curls.
This is your ocean: without fail,
it returns to you every summer.
With salt sculpting your silver curls
fierce and cold, the Atlantic breaks,
it returns to you every summer,
jagged coral with nothing but barnacles.
Lisa Masé is a culinary medicine educator, food sovereignty activist, folk herbalist, writer and homesteader from northern Italy living in central Vermont. She is influenced by Martin Prechtel, Eugenio Montale, and Bob Dylan among others.