Maria Borio

Translated from the Italian by Danielle Pieratti

Other Places

They don’t rest. The beam of light is calm.
They watch the boats high on the sea.

Every life has its violence.

The current holds the boats,
the edge is like two people.

Under the palms the air turns dark
black sums all colors.

Every life has its violence?

You saw them exchange sounds,
the sea that makes silence, the wood
of the hulls, fruits in the shade.

The silence was black and perfect:
one on shore leans toward the sea,
the other detains him.

Letter, 6:00 AM

For the moment that divides night from day
you stay in the open, in the high, blue grass.
Your eyes write it into some space
and the camera lens captures her
naked and thin: what life wants to appear.

If you write down a moment does it grow?
Slowly the writing’s camera reaches
others’ lives and this photograph like a real
mouth more than real already begs
where you are, at what time, why you gather
the pale sky between azure stems.

Maybe this last bit of summer
could speak itself
if it reproduced by moving,
if it resembled lives on video
that appear, long to feel similar…

Neolithic men retold with the palms
of their hands on the walls of caves
and the outlines of their hands were protection,
light that lives. See my letters this way.

I stick my hands on the bluish pink, on the thorniest mouth:
the naked woman who compresses an exodus
crushing her hands on the rock.
Unarmed lives continue the hunt
in the recorded voice, in the photo that erases
the voice, in the letters that erase the body.

On the low wall you sit and listen
again to the sound of the video that writes
where I am, the hour, the why.
The voice is a cold nude
who presses her hands to the sky.

Two Parts

Stop and carve out the rule of halves—
you, me—feet’s distance from eyes:

a fixed length in all of us.
Everyone’s body is a unit of measure

but none the same—always the distance
trembling between children’s hair and heels

the contact between summer’s gripping heat
and gray rain when they begin to move in.

The air is stopped, scorched, slow as a beast.
The distance between feet and eyes dries up.

At the bottom of the valley we’re left squeezed,
no longer real—us and the machines, the sheaves pressed,

the horses calm. Air fills the stomach: sometimes it lifted
color from the laurel bush, stared into its eyes

and we believed that the atmosphere would diminish,
that we had breathed just by thinking.

We climbed—you looked at me as though if all the lights
at the bottom were eyes, they could see us.

The distance between hair and feet trembles wild
between the highest point of this hill and beyond

our binoculars, a clean form and the back
of a sleeping horse. The moon rushes to its height.

Aimless heads we gaze searching not knowing
to name it.

Maria Borio has published two books of poetry: Trasparenza (2019, Interlinea) and L’altro limite (2017, Pordenonelegge-lietocolle), and a selection of her works entitled “Vite Unite” was included in XII Quaderno italiano di poesia contemporanea (2015, Marcos y Marcos). She holds a Ph.D. in Contemporary Italian Literature and has written the monographs Satura: Da Montale alla lirica contemporanea (2013, Serra) and Poetiche e individui (2018, Marsilio). She is poetry editor of the journal Nuovi Argomenti, previously directed by Alberto Moravia and Pier Paolo Pasolini.

Danielle Pieratti‘s poems and translations have appeared in Boston ReviewWords Without Borders, Mid-American ReviewSixth Finch, and elsewhere. Her first book Fugitives (2016, Lost Horse Press), was selected by Kim Addonizio for the 2016 Idaho Prize and won the 2017 Connecticut Book Award for poetry. She is the author of two chapbooks: By the Dog Star, 2005 winner of the Edda Chapbook Competition for Women (Sarasota Poetry Theatre Press), and The Post, the Cage, the Palisade (2015, Dancing Girl Press). She lives in Connecticut.

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