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. (https://www.instagram.com/nancybyrneiannucci/)