she was reared on a vineyard,
her mother’s milk is sour
like the grapes pregnant with hard

plentiful seeds—her tongue tasted not flowers
but only the dampened Tuscan sun
in which she lets her tattooed skin crisp for hours.

around her neck the vines rung
her bony frame, her veins protrude
from her solid flesh as sweat humidly runs

down its soaked bones. her father broods
over one daughter, the blackened girl
who lets daggers—dusty dull and crude—

fall from her rosy thin lips. her mother curls
her Mediterranean hair,
thick and with her finger her mother twirls

pulls a few strands and leaves them in the air.
eight brothers—all grown and looking down—
kiss their sister’s cheek and compare

her to their wives who live in town
and do not know the taste of fresh milk;
they only know cognac. crisp and brown

gliding down their throats, smooths as silk
instead of their father-in-law’s rustic wine
that makes their spoiled tongues wilt.

she picks tomatoes from the vine
and enjoys the taste of sour juice—
the way the seeds sit out of line

in the chambers of the tart fruit.
she dreams without a fairy tale;
an accordion instead of a lute;

in her hand no scepter—only a pail
for summer grapes. here is the land
where she was bread, unloved and frail,

by her mother’s signing hand
and her father’s desolate eyes
that show such inklings of grand

deceptions of her daughter’s prized
ideals—she sits in the vineyard: her predestined demise.

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