Nancy Byrne Iannucci ~ Cavorarell

When I was a lit­tle girl my father took me back
to his home­land, a lit­tle vil­lage in Italy high on
a moun­tain­top called Durazzano. Guarda tutte
le arance! my father said, as we snaked up the
moun­tain in what felt like a ten-minute twirl
to the top. I remem­ber think­ing Durazzano
was where all the witch­es & wiz­ards lived.
The women wore black dress­es, wrapped tightly
in hand-knit­ted shawls- their eyes fixed on us
as they walked the nar­row roads in a gang of shadows.
The men sat out­side sip­ping glass­es of Strega
dis­tilled in the region. Salute! They said to my father.
Salute! Salvatore o cavo­rarell! all fam­i­lies had
nick­names. Cavorarell was ours, Durazzanese
dialect for the word caul­dron. I was told that my
great grand­fa­ther was a tall, dark-skinned man
who wore a hoop ear­ring and had a thick
head of hair that fell to his shoulders.
He was known to many as the gyp­sy. He would stand
for hours over his caul­dron, o cavo­rarell, stir­ring &
spic­ing the con­tents. Smoke and ash filled the air
with the aro­ma of his alchem­i­cal cook­ing. He loved
stir­ring that pot, and I was told that if a tragedy
had ever over­tak­en the vil­lage, he would have died
there in mid-stir, his bones unearthed cen­turies later.


Nancy Byrne Iannucci is the author of Temptation of Wood (Nixes Mate Review 2018). Her poems have appeared in sev­er­al pub­li­ca­tions, some include Allegro Poetry Magazine, The Mantle, Gargoyle, Ghost City Press, Clementine Unbound, Dodging the Rain, 8 Poems, Glass: A Journal of Poetry (Poets Resist), Hobo Camp Review, Red Eft Review and Typehouse Literary Magazine. Nancy is a Long Island, NY native who now resides in Troy, NY where she teach­es his­to­ry at the Emma Willard School. (