Now night comes—brings prayer.
It opens the silence’s locks
makes the sidereal map appear
and we kneel facing that immense space
between now and the rim
of the beginning
when spinal cords
are all extended.
I look down on ships
as spreading light
enlarges my vision.
Other ships far off rise
bearing gifts. We are leaning out
over the heartbeat of waves on cliffs
at the far end of the earth. Over there they collect
corals, pearls, call on female
deities, strew flowers.
Within these empires of nectar and wisdom
we fall from the heights.
Soft still, soft and slow
the whole sky turns clear.
I wanted to kill the snake
my hand stopped startled
by a tongue lifted as if offended.
The rock fell
rolling behind my step backward
the heavens had moved faster.
They sold the rot of empire.
They said chilling words. One could
only stay put. In the little nightmare or the real one.
Stay trapped by blood. Not fly.
Thus the world is all coal and ashes.
My pots and pans don’t feed the hungry.
Fruit is always a kiss inside the altar of seed
and June laughs and laughs. More than February and May
it becomes flesh. For this the branch slept.
From Senza Polvere Senza Peso (Torino: Guilio Einaudi Editore, 2006). By arrangement with the author. Translation © 2015 by Wallis Wilde-Menozzi. All rights reserved.