with the power of nothing
of never having had
anything to barter,
gestures re-create a language
fastening armor to my body.
it has happened, stay: in the dark
hollow like a uterus, dwell
there is a point when life overturns
becomes Morse code.
at the center the mystery, the stamen
of time. Petals grow
and days. There is neither vase
nor garden. Only
the earth. The light. The rain.
with the first glimmers,
hunched under an amniotic sack
they go to work, pass by—the door
of sleep half opens.
I come back, listen to the air. And then jump.
The where’s are all provisional.
They grow like branches.
Franca Mancinelli was born in Fano, Italy, in 1981. Her first two collections of verse poetry, Mala kruna (2007) and Pasta Madre (2013) were awarded several prizes in Italy and later republished together as A un’ora di sonno da qui (2018)—a book available in John Taylor’s English translation as At an Hour’s Sleep from Here (Bitter Oleander Press, 2019). In 2018 appeared her collection of prose poems, Libretto di transito, also published by the Bitter Oleander Press as The Little Book of Passage. Recent translations of her writing have appeared in Trafika Europe, Asymptote, January Review, The Fortnightly Review, and The Blue Nib.
John Taylor is an American writer, critic, and translator who lives in France. Among his many translations of French and Italian poetry are books by Philippe Jaccottet, Pierre Chappuis, Pierre-Albert Jourdan, Georges Perros, Jacques Dupin, José-Flore Tappy, Pierre Voélin, Lorenzo Calogero, and Alfredo de Palchi. He is the author of several volumes of short prose and poetry, most recently a “double book” co-authored with Pierre Chappuis, A Notebook of Clouds & A Notebook of Ridges.