My mother taught me to wear black slacks
she said because "La cosa nostra
just wears black."
My mother taught me to wear black dresses with red lipstick
and black pantyhose
cause all Italian women wear black dresses.
She taught me to wear black in the summer and black in the winter because "black looks good on all women"
and besides it's slimming.
I think like most of us women, she's spent some of her life in mourning.
My mother taught me to cook pasta
and throw it against the wall to test it.
My mother taught me to cook pasta sauce without using a can
or a measuring cup.
She taught me to make enough pasta for an army
even when it's just you and your hungry little girl.
I think she was cooking extra for the babies she couldn't have.
My mother taught me to change a tire
she said "because no woman should have to wait for a man to do it."
My mother taught me to change the gas filter
because she said "no woman should have to wait for a man to do it."
She taught me to change the spark plugs, the oil, and the belts
because, well you get the idea.
I think she just wanted to revolt against the specter of my father.
She taught me to be wary of men
because my father absconded with my toys, my clothes, my blankets, her heart.
She taught be to wary of men and their mothers
she said because my grandmother fucked a drunk, a wife-beater, and a gun-toting hillbilly.
She taught me to be wary of anyone I meet
because most people are thieves and everyone will sell you out
and she's been mostly right.
My mother taught me to wear black because it hides the tears
and it doesn't show dirt when you're fighting your way uphill.
She taught me to wear black dresses because all goddesses should.