Passeggiata in Linguaglossa

By JUDITH BAUMEL

 

I found the Cyclops and his Galatea

in their shop on Piano Provenanza.

They’d been domestic for a while.

I’d gone for his wildflowers and Ragabo pines.

I’d gone for the wintry July breezes that

dilute the sulfur of his neighborhood.

I’d gone to see the roughened lava of

his searching, the obsidian of his instant grief.

His single lens reflex captured what

his father pitched out of the house. You can’t

imagine how hard it is to raise boys these days,

scoriae and ash, knee deep in hornblende.

October ’02, even old seismologists

were amazed by what the old man still tossed up.

And Galatea, from Ethiopia, strung

for sale the pyroclastics into “et’nic” jewelry.

 

He showed me some appealing color prints.

Asked if I liked Sicilians over Italians.

Full stop. As I saw it, there were three

potential answers—Sicilians (what he wanted

to hear?) Italians (what he thought to hear?)

or neither (true for me, a nohbdy,

a traveler skilled in few ways of contending).

Nohbdy. In the roman mosaics at

Casale it’s a third eye which Ulysses

sees the Polyphemus passing round.

 

[Purchase Issue 13 here]

Judith Baumel is professor of English at Adelphi University and has served as president of the AWP and director of the Poetry Society of America. Her books of poetry are The Weight of Numbers—winner of the Walt Whitman Award from the Academy of American Poets—Now, and The Kangaroo Girl.

 

Julia PikePasseggiata in Linguaglossa

Related Posts

A vertical view of more buildings and people in Siliguri, India

Siliguri: My Found Town

SUMANA ROY
A town without libraries and bookshops, we were largely dependent on hearsay. News, gossip, stories, even classroom lessons – they came to us second and third hand. This is where—and why—my fondness for the found aesthetic must have first oxidized. For Siliguri is a treasure island of mispronunciation.

outside is the ocean

Review: Outside Is the Ocean

JULIA LICHTBLAU
Heike disappoints and infuriates everyone, but is perversely optimistic, which gives many of the stories a certain hilarity, even the saddest ones. Humor enables Heike’s gay son, Stewart, a literature professor, and her adopted, one-armed Russian daughter, Galina, to survive her boundless narcissism and neediness.

Bratislava city across a river

Bratislava

MARY JO SALTER
So I’m still alive and now I’m in Bratislava. / That’s funny. I hadn’t expected to be alive. / A sign in italics nudges us at the station: / Have an amazing time in Bratislava! / That’s funny: a straight-faced wish, offered in English / and then Slovakian, posted above the trash can / that stands like the only monument in town.