Mercedes Webb-Pullman


I was always confused
about Italy, and the war
the care packages still sent there
twenty-five years later;
whether Rosa was your daughter
whether I had another sister.
The man you may have killed
was different from those you did.
You planted a fig
showed your kids how
you tied a bottle to the tree
where a flower had been.
I watched for months
as the fruit grew from green to purple
and swelled, filling out
the small bottle like a ship;
the stem stood erect
through the neck
when it ripened.
You topped up the bottle
with brandy, sealed it
put it away in a cupboard
where I found it, years later
near a small black and white
cameo confirmation photo
of Rosa in the cathedral
in Florence.

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