In Sicily farmers call the huge prickly pears harvested
in the late fall after a second flowering bastardoni, big bastards.
Before he emigrated to America Grandpa
made starvation wages farming for the big shots.
To spite his hard-fisted bosses, feed his empty stomach,
Grandpa clipped the young fruit and buds in the spring,
forgot about the second flowering as he toiled
in the hot summer wheat fields.
In the fall a bumper crop of plump, spiny fruit,
filling the greedy hearts of the bosses with delight.
Grandpa cursed the fine prickly spines
stuck in his fingers when the landlords forced him
to peel a colorful bulb, regretted the unearned
sweetness he served to the big bastards.
Frank C Modica is a retired teacher who taught children with special needs. He volunteers with a number of arts and social service organizations in his community. His work is forthcoming or has appeared in Rat's Ass Review, Dodging the Rain, Blue Mountain Review, and Raconteur Review. Frank's first chapbook is forthcoming from Alabaster Leaves publishing.