My Life in Opera

Growing up in a house of pain,
You sacrifice everything for love.
Like the time my uncle tore open his shirt
And begged his brothers
To let him return to the love
He left in Buenos Aires,
Like the time my mother
Was scratching at her eyes,
Like the time my father both raged and wept.

Days were scenes without direction.
One day a cousin would stab herself
Or an aunt jump from a tower.
I didn’t know what was real;
But what passionate singing I heard,
Tenors, sopranos, baritones–
All around me in full voice;
And there I was, in love with Tosca,
Condemned to death,
And just twelve years old.

Snail Recipe

As a boy I dreamt snails,
Dreamt my mother was mother of snails
Who nursed them with milk and honey,
Cooked pastina, sage and basil,
To cleanse and sweeten the flesh.
I dreamt snails and cringed.
At dinner, I slowly picked snails from their shells,
Savoring dark morsels, eating my dream.