Mangia Syndrome

Every time I go there she
feeds me until I feel Italian again.
-- Rose Romano in Vendetta

In this family,
women feel guilty and nervous
if they aren't in the kitchen.
They start planning
he next meal
before breakfast is finished.

To us, "treasure"
means a stuffed pantry, cupboards
crammed with pasta
and canned goods,
a freshly stocked ice box
filled from crisper to freezer.

Even our religion
revolves around feeding,
reveres multiplication
of fishes and loaves,
celebrates communion,
where we kneel,
eat the body of Christ.

Sensing hunger,
a dying Italian woman,
would immediately revive,
imbued with a reason for living,
rise up from her sickbed,
set the table, toss a salad,
resume compulsive cooking.


c2000 by Jennifer Lagier