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Nikki Donadio


Nikki Donadio is a queer writer of fiction, non-fiction, and poetry. Her work has appeared in Gertrude, Ghost City Press, Sililoquies Anthology, Plenitude and others. She holds a Masters of Arts degree in Creative Writing and lives in Newmarket, Ontario.

Excerpt from Guarde (2021) by Nikki Donadio

My grandmother spoke both English and Italian but an Italian

that can't be found in Italian-Canadian dictionaries. We heard slight

drifts of sound, a for a d, or syllables dropped entirely. For example:

  1. Guarde. Guardare. To look. Important: this is usually said with some urgency. Like "Look! You're making a mess!" or "Look! How beautiful!"

  2. Aspet! Aspettare. To wait. 

  3. Landeek. Lenticchie. Lentils

  4. Angorra. Ancora. Yet. Said with feistiness. Like "Still? This is taking a long time!"

  5. Carcholi. Carciofo. Artichoke.

  6. Bee-ade. Bietola. Swiss chard.

Listen carefully and know the little meanders. They are the difference between knowing the ness of your mother tongue and not. 

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