Joan Mazza: “Pastina”


In January cold, I crave them, easy to digest,

tiny stars of pasta, food for the toothless, fed

on small rubberized spoons. Stir in butter and ricotta

while it’s hot and it slides right down.

Where are the Ronzoni products I bought

in Brooklyn for the first quarter of my life?

Now it’s a quest for something I haven’t eaten

in decades. On the Internet, a ridiculous price

can buy you nearly anything you want, toys you had

and lost or threw away, the broken platter

that will complete your set. What I want is simple:

the scent of memory: my sister seated facing her baby

in a high chair, feeding him pastina. He sneezes,

showers stars across her face, and her dark coif

shines with a glitter finish to her bouffant hairdo.

San Giorgio in Italy still makes them at a cost

that’s only half-ridiculous, and I buy two pounds

to last the rest of my restless days without

my sister or nephew. One-quarter cup boils and roils,

its scent familiar as my sister’s face. She smacks

her lips, spurs her son to eat the stars he’s fed.

Joan Mazza has worked as a medical microbiologist, psychotherapist, and seminar leader. Author of six self-help psychology books, including Dreaming Your Real Self (Penguin/Putnam), her poetry has appeared in Rattle, Potomac Review, The MacGuffin, Mezzo Cammin, Slipstream, and The Nation.

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