Kristi Marciano

Family History

I am from gli accerani
leathered farmers sunstruck
and windswept pescatori
breathing salt breeze off the Tyrrhenian.
Women with skin the smell of zucchero
and homes of pommodori
dry calloused hands soaked too long in water
and flour.
Slang is sweet on our tongues and ears;
a language of our own.
Like ancient, cracked bowls
with gold in the seams,
we piece together words like beads
on the necklace of war.
Here we waste nothing for we remember
Lombards Normans Saracens Romans Greeks Etruscans
a village leveled by Hannibal
razed by Vesuvius
slaughtered by Nazis.
My great grandfather at the gates dalla cittĂ 
Partigiano, Eroe
fighting to protect his home
of three-thousand years.
Vai, andiamo in America.
Fleeing, haunted voices drape
a lingering sable shroud
upon the azure coastline.
I imagine my grandmother
pale, ravaged
cancer twisting through her veins
like roots clasped to bedrock
prayers rolling off her tongue like incense
swirling to the skies
to grieve
a land torn
a home fled
a lineage split
enduring only through stories
and tambourine bells on the wind.

About the author
is a professional content writer specializing in environment and sustainability writing. She is currently earning her master’s degree in science writing from The Johns Hopkins University. You can follow her on Medium @kmarciano and on Twitter @kristi_marciano, or you can reach her at

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