BellaOnline Literary Review
Grand Opening by Carol Dandrade

Table of Contents


I Am Me

Joanne Cucinello

I often wonder how it would have been
if I hadnīt reached this age and instead died like my mother at 44.
I kept dreading that 44th year of my life, and holding my breath
as it finally approached . . . but then it passed, like the eye of a storm.

Ah! I was safe from the curse Iīd fantasized, and my life would go on!
I could cut another thread from my motherīs vest, resigned to the
fact that God had sent me a reprieve.

None of us realize how glued we are
and always will be, to the story of our lives
and the narrative weīve memorized and regurgitated
time and time again thinking, like the Ten
Commandments, it was carved forever in stone.

But even stones change over time, as the rains pour
and ocean waves pound hard through the years,
smoothing and changing their surfaces once jagged and rough.
And so it goes with the superstitions of my Sicilian upbringing.
Theyīve lost their hold on me; smoothed over and pounded
by my time-healed wounds.

I am Me, and this life is my own. No one to blame for the roads
I chose to take. My past and its memories are mine alone
and so is my future. Like the marks and spots on my aging skin,
my surface has been altered much since that 44th year.

Whatīs inside this heart and soul though, is a flame still burning,
never changing, since before I was born. Itīs fueled by the love
of those I cherish, the Gifts of my life and the God who knows my name.

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