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Elaine Schear

My Father's Religion

He taught me to worship with our noses.
Our church, the kitchen.
The sacraments, the condiments:
Garlic, basil, oregano.

His first food was pasta fagioli,
his Brooklyn playground, his pop’s groceria,
where Jewish paesani grazed
jealous fingers on the romano.

What mattered:
disrobing the parmesano,
string and paper bleached white,
mom’s aprons stained with only
the best virgin oil.