Pisa by Maddie Woda

Illustration by Karina Blodnieks and Dora O'Neill

Illustration by Karina Blodnieks and Dora O'Neill

My mother drops exhausted on the coverlet of a king
sized hotel bed on the outskirts of Pisa and promises to
never set foot in another art museum for as long as her life
allows. 53 years old, not a penny of grey hair to her name,
she swears off art, paintings scraped raw until their edges bleed
and statues struggling to suppress laughter as the artist barks
Italian commands—mossa, ruotare, riposare il mento—in his
crummy bedroom cum studio. But she, Ohio farmer’s daughter
who took the requisite one art history class in college,
what is Van Gogh to her when her own grandpa’s ear was lost
in a wheat turbine, along with three fingers and the tip of his
nose? You can take the girl out of the Midwest but don’t put
her in Pisa, where things lean from age and not faulty wiring
or osteoporosis. She throws off her Louis Vuitton, her Tiffany’s,
and gets ready for bed at three in the afternoon, leaving on her
grandmother’s Maslin, Ohio high school marching band tags.