Nina Romano earned an M.A. from Adelphi University and an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Florida International University. She is the author of two poetry chapbooks from Flutter Press: Prayer in a Summer of Grace, and Time’s Mirrored Illusion, and four poetry collections: Cooking Lessons from Rock Press, submitted for the Pulitzer Prize, Coffeehouse Meditations, from Kitsune Books, She Wouldn’t Sing at My Wedding, from Bridle Path Press, and Faraway Confections from Aldrich Press. Romano has been nominated twice for the Pushcart Prize. She co-authored Writing in a Changing World. Her debut short story collection, The Other Side of the Gates, has just been published from Bridle Path Press. More about the author at: www.ninaromano.com
A Late Fall Day
Blustery snow flurries.
The heat of the truck too intense,
too much suffocating air.
I crack open the window—
too much frigid air.
In the parking lot,
I dash across frozen mud
into a steam bath bar,
with swinging doors,
reminding me of the old west saloons.
I strip off my rabbit fur jacket,
approach the bar laden with eggs
in a jar, dried, packaged pepperoni sticks,
stale peanuts and pretzels in tiny-sized
All of the locals all lined up in a row--
scuzzy old men, some drifters.
They look at me,
swig and swallow hard
from their bottles of beer:
Polygamy Porter, Squatters,
I sit two bar stools down
from a young bearded Christ
and order a whiskey neat,
with a Cockeyed Cooper chaser.
When I walk out to see the
fading light settle dusk
upon the Wasatch Mountains,
I wish I’d been an artist
to thrust upon my canvas
this flange of black rock,
and these naked trees
bearing the weight
of this first snowfall.
Appears in Time's Mirrored Illusion (my chapbook)
Making Veal Stew
I dredge the meat in seasoned flour,
sauté in olive oil, a dab of pure Irish butter.
As the chunks golden, I cut, slice and dice
vegetables for veal stew: sunny Yukon Gold potatoes,
tarnished sweet potatoes, auburn carrots, pearl white leeks
with emerald tops, ashy onions, and these I toss
into the pot with the browning nubs, then splashing all, baptize
with Coeur de Terre Pinot Grigio, or if we’re drinking red—
a Pinot Noir, from the Willamette Valley in Dundee Hills
where Oregon mimics Tuscany’s rolling hills
exactly like the wheat fields, the vineyards.
In early June we visited these wineries: Penner-Ash, Tristaetum,
and Domaine Serene—a light misting rain making mud
runnels through the estates, a sense of sorrow hovering in air
except for the boisterous bounty of multicolored, blossoming roses.
I recall the Arno, how it looked in springtime; the slopes, mounts
and inclines—valleys near Florence, lunching in a little country
restaurant with ancient wooden beams, seeming old as the river itself.
We ate fagioli al fiasco seasoned laurel in rustic ceramic bowls
with thick-sliced homemade bread toasted into bruschetta,
drowned in green-gold olive oil and smothered with garlic I taste still.
Whenever I cook, the dreamlike tactile kitchen undertakings
instigate a kind of first class mind travel—
no tedium, no task too trivial, in fact, no task at all.
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