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For literary responses to COVID-19 from writers around the world, check out our Voices from the Pandemic series.
from the April 2020 issue

From the Red Desert

A poet considers anonymity and solidarity in the midst of the COVID-19 outbreak in Italy.
 


Maria Borio reads "From the Red Desert" in the original Italian.


In the red desert I’m a single dot:
my size today, a dot
without length, width, depth,
fallen from the sky’s highest point on an earth
filled with silence and suddenly pure.
I write to you from the red zone, and here’s the truth:
the borders are drawn, the red has filled the space
without entry or exit, and all are like me,
single dots, with no illusion, in the first spring
of a millennium now changing the face of time.
From this room I write to you and whisper: if a dot
has no dimension, is it because all are contained within it?
To think is to unite—meanwhile day and night
are the same color, we learn to think of one another,
of, somehow, a new good.


“Dal deserto rosso” © 2020 by Maria Borio. By arrangement with the author. Translation © 2020 by Danielle Pieratti. All rights reserved.


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