You, mother, driving, me at your side -, we talk as I watch
aligning with the road. Fragments of landscape in dots of trees and shrubs. You speak
of ending and loss. I turn to the other window, rain falling in the other direction,
where the wind tilts things with no attention. To you mother, who
I talk of bags I forgot, and the books I haven’t read. Yet rain falls
in lines slanting the world underneath. Coincidences have weight. I wanted to
– while you talk of deities’ pity for us, your fate, my chance, our possibilities –
but you want to pay for those parcels I forgot. You won’t turn into
we could take. And while you point
where air scatters
more light, for the sky kindness or the sun obstinacy,
align between us. Love for you. The weight of your
before I feel it.
Impossible crossroads where you and I are mother.
*included in print in Issue 43 of The Blues Nib
Sky, you are too big;
Persian Blue –
I cannot know you.
Instead, I call on you, Land;
give me a place to put my feet,
a home for my uncertainty,
a place to doubt.
A place to live.
*This poem is part of a bilingual project in Italian and English and appeared in the ‘Writing Home’ anthology by Dedalus Press. Texts have been co-written in the two languages by me and poet Maria McManus.
You ask me
why is the sky
open and without limits
for swans, for geese, for terns
but not for us.
Here, we cannot even see the sky;
this room is suffocating,
hot, without windows,
strip lights cast shadows
of our hands across this table.
we are trapped
in white light
crying out into the dark.
Left to our own instincts
we could find our way
on cool nights
with the stars
Border. Mark of a finger. Impressed – the birth of a breath and a question of the brain
(they are the same).
Grief too has the property of the skin,
it heals from the centre, it stamps concentric circles.
A fragile finger can trace the erasing of a self.
Between land and sea*
The harbour, a safe passage from sea to land
iron oxide stains
and the colour of the sky
colour Cassel Earth
The eyes know petrels, above
they fly miles over sky paths.
Here we are blind (yet we know the way).
Here we breathe through the skin (yet we hold hope).
Divided between two continents, we name the sea distance (because the body
remembers each breakage in the bones).
While the night is a road
pointing towards what we desire.
We rise from
under water, underground,
in a skin tight envelop
This is our law
to be free and imagine
miles above our heads yet swans and petrels
* 10.6.18, the Italian Home Office Minister prevented the Aquarius, capacity 500, from docking. 630
migrants, including more than 100 children and people tortured in North Africa, were on board.
Viviana Fiorentino is Italian and lives in Belfast where she teaches Italian literature. In 2018, she was awarded two Italian poetry prizes. Her poems, short stories and translations have appeared in international literature webzines and magazines (as Nazione Indiana, Poetarum Silva, Carteggi Letterari, Larosadipiu, Brumaria, FourXFour NI Poetry Journal, Poethead, The Blue Nib, Paris Lit Up). She published in international webzines, journals, in anthology (Dedalus Press, 2019); a poetry collection (Controluna Press) and a novel (Transeuropa Publishing House). She co-founded two activist poetry initiatives (‘Sky, you are too big’,‘Letters with wings’) and Le Ortique (forgotten women artists blog).