Vinni Marie D'Ambrosio, Ph.D.
by Vinni Marie D'Ambrosio, in Rattapallax and Le Pagine (Rome), tr. Luigi Bonaffini
The Consolation in Being History
". . . quarried long ago in the haze/
of an Italian morning . . . ."
Then slowly turning unplayful, my mother's days
were nearly still,
becoming a frieze,
each abutting a long file of earlier days,
and paling more
the more recent.
In the last of the line of them,
she breathed such thin breathing
onto her merest memories -
of a red (the satin on a candybox lid),
a green (the lake lying under the trees),
a purple (the dusk fallen between her daughters)
With nowhere at all to place love,
I watched mummers
in a darkened barn on the straw hat circuit.
They were kind, were in a dumb show:
they looped themselves, braided air, caressed
a knee, lifted a wrist.
At the end, the music of flute stretched and collapsed
like a barber's strop,
and the footlights dimmed
and seemed the distant heaven
that is ever greedy for those we once have kissed.
Wrapped in family silence,
I look at the February sea
until it seems the black marble of tombs -
and quarried long ago in the haze
of an Italian morning,
its rough planes surprised
by the stonecutter.
On the morning of our mother's baptism,
was it already in the making?
Who ordained it then, so black
and heavy, to ride,
an ocean on an ocean,
to this Atlantic beach,
to crash here and transmute,
becoming, as I look, a surface
of Mediterranean prisms
and Adriatic hushings?
Minnows of light, love's whispers -
one needs these.
My brother, of the U.S. Army, has come into town!
He'll buy us a fish lunch
at the Rose Café,
the fans will whirr sweetly over our heads,
preserving in song his chopper's rescues,
will snap to,
and I will drink in the sunniness
of the daisies in their stark vase.
Copyright © 2008 by Vinni Marie D'Ambrosio
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