This poem came from the October 5, 2010 Poetry Fishbowl. It was prompted by eseme and sponsored by marina_bonomi. I had fun with this one -- there are bits of Italian culture and European folklore, and Fiorenza is a basically a young wisewoman with an empirical streak. Just the thing to solve a pesky vampire infestation!
Fiorenza moved through the village
as lightly as a flower drifting in the wind.
She was the best gardener.
She was the best baker.
She was the best herbalist.
So when the villagers began to sicken,
it was Fiorenza who set out to discover why.
What she learned was that
those who came down shaking and pale
with a pinprick rash at their throats
were mostly those who grew tomatoes.
"It's the devil's fruit," the priest said sagaciously
when Fiorenza explained the connection.
"That hardly accounts for the hornworms,"
said Fiorenza, "and they like tomatoes too."
So she ignored the priest and cross-referenced her list
against the people who neither grew tomatoes nor got sick
and the people who grew tomatoes but still didn't get sick
and that's how she discovered the uses of garlic.
From there it was a simple trick
to adapt her recipe for pizza pie
to include garlic as well as tomatoes --
a tasty treat for humans,
but for vampires a deadly bait.
After the problem was solved,
Fiorenza wrote down the new recipe
underneath the one for belladonna rat poison
so that she could teach it to anyone who needed it.
From then on, when a girl
moved into their village,
the mothers would ask,
"Can she bake a scary pie?" --
and if the answer was "No,"
they sent her to Fiorenza to learn how.