My grandmothers and grandfathers came to Ellis Island before the door slammed shut -to all Italians and Eastern European Jews -due to the Immigration Act of 1926.
My grandmother, 12 years of age, survived the Triangle Shirt Waste Factory Fire because she jumped through smashed windows, landing on her sisters’ bodies who jumped before her. Women and children from teeming shores.
I am the granddaughter of a woman who worked in sweat shops, sewed till her fingers bled so her children could dream the dream of America.
I am the daughter of first generation Americans, Union organizers who taught there is no justice without compassion.
I am an Italian-American working class kid from the Bronx. Where elders words-Italian staccato -mixed with opera, Dylan, Leonard Bernstein, and the score from Fiddler.
I am thevdaughter
of a feminist
never went to college
A nasty woman
When nasty women are needed.
They are me.
from the other side
We are here
-February 4 2017