My mother said Mussolini was good
because he made everyone
throw their pigs out
of the house and made sure
everyone got pasta every day
but no meat.
By then the pigs had all been slaughtered
to feed the army.
In the garden behind her shack,
broccoli withered in the hot Sicilian sun,
water doled out like vino rosso to alcoholics.
“One liter too much and Il Duce's soldati
might die of thirst,” the peasants would hiss,
rolling their eyes, while huddling in dark cellars
where wine presses used to dwell.
The purple grapes that once graced
the countryside had all been razed
the culls remaining
just so many