In the dark I inflate balloons
———————————for my children
it’s nighttime in the house

——————————-I lose my breath, they grow
their aerial games,
———————-the threads on which they become acrobats
their water shins
luminescent hair

———————-their laughter issues forth
or holds off, paper decorations
on the walls, and
the colors, loose folds on their wrists, I lose
some air, my chest falls
I’m a bird again

night is a mouth opened
over empty stadiums
————————-a girl
still among the other girls who dance—

I let go of the balloons, let go
of my children in the dark where the wings
of monstrous things touch them—

I name them after old saints: Bartolomeo
Carlotta, Battista, Clemente…
gather into your years
my ever waning ones, breath
that only God can provide.

Be lively
———-and stay in my eyes
that in a smile switch off
before the rooms that
open up to a thousand moons.


Translated from the Italian by Gregory M. Pell

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