I can taste her in tomato sauce.
Can taste her in ground beef and cheese,
in the onions that she hates,
in the elasticity of the noodles against my teeth,
in the twinkling sound of the fork hitting the bottom of the plate;
Can taste the spontaneous lectures,
with al dentes and al fornos — words I never truly understood,
because she never looked more beautiful than when she wore her passion on her sleeve;
Can taste the parsley on her breath when she whispered her Ti amos in my ear;
It’s been five years.
I only begun to identify basil and oregano by taste when she wasn’t around to scold me for calling them “fancy blades of grass”
I know it’s a little late,
but are you proud?
I still remember the look on her face,
the day of the first date,
the day she twirled me a bite from her plate, and I refused:
Pity, disdain– so thinly concealed she could have stood up to shout and it would not have made a difference.
It held no appeal to me,
the idea of a messy mouthful of boiled dough.
Over the years,
she made it her mission to make me eat my words.
on the days my heart runs dry,
I find my feet
to the restaurant I didn’t particularly like,
to look at the menu I didn’t particularly like,
to find myself pointing at that fancy-sounding item
I didn’t particularly like;
Just to remember,
to never forget,
–what it felt like, the taste of my name on her tongue.
And it’s on these days when I understand what she meant
When she told me,
tomato sauce reminded her of home.
– salita project, x.