The Italian Lesson

By HONOR MOORE 

 

To bind at last

the loose miscellany

a first love left

and shattered.

 

That summer

in Florence alone

she stepped

into the Bargello,

room of Donatello, of saints

given shape. 

 

This time to speak

not fear language

 

but it was raining and

from her attention

the 4 o’clock instructor

vanished.

 

Thunder,

a miniature apocalypse

torrential across

the castle window,

she takes up

an essay about

the great Irish poet.

 

Again the girl

of twenty

now in Cambridge,

in her hands

a turquoise book

about that poet,

her brain wrestling

 

toward a still point, what

to be faithful to.

 

A language

in fragments,

at her ear, the present

storm binding her

back to what it is

that breaks then

frees the mind.

 

[Purchase Issue 13 here]

Honor Moore is the author of three collections of poetry—Red Shoes, Darling, and Memoir—with a fourth collection forthcoming. Her most recent books are the memoir The Bishop’s Daughter and Poems from the Women’s Movement, which she edited for the Library of America.

Julia PikeThe Italian Lesson

Related Posts

the power

August 2017 Friday Reads

The book’s central conceit is that teenage girls wake up one day with electrical powers, which spread, and suddenly women everywhere are able to kill men with a single zap. It follows four main characters—Tunde, Margot, Roxy, and Allie. The characters’ lives intersect in unexpected ways as the book charges on toward its dramatic, violent, emotionally resonant conclusion.

Knots book cover

Review: Knots

OLGA ZILBERBOURG
It felt foreordained to open this short story collection by the Norwegian writer Gunnhild Øyehaug and find IKEA on the first page, as in: “…park the car outside IKEA.” IKEA, now based in the Netherlands, originated in Sweden, but to many foreigners, it personifies Scandinavia—pleasant and unthreatening.

clam shack

Twenty Minutes at the Clam Shack

CASSIE PRUYN
I slip my hand under her blouse, which quivers/ with heartbeats, trace/ the silken blade of her collarbone/ lean down to sniff her neck./ Gulls screeching, flapping, battling/ for scraps across the Clam Shack’s pavement./ Traffic rushing beyond the chainlink./ As the