Untitled

By GIAMPIERO NERI

 

By the end of the summer of 1943, a stretch of time that had seemed to me unbelievably long and even more so in my memory, a good-sized colony of strangers had arrived in town.

Then it emerged they were Jewish.

They’d found lodgings in several houses and one of these families had come to live near us, we shared a courtyard.

We would never see anybody, however, except for a girl who had to take

care of errands.

I used to run into her by chance on the road or near home.

She must have been fourteen or fifteen. She had fat braids of hair on each side of a face that was serious, perhaps sulky.

I started greeting her and she answered back kindly, without showing any surliness. With the passing of the days I realized I was looking for these encounters, which always seemed casual.

One evening we saw the whole family pass by, the rather stout father, the mother and a certain number of kids, among whom the girl must have been the oldest. They occupied the middle of the provincial road, and they were holding hands.

That was the only time we saw them together, and also the last one.

They’d gone away just as they’d come.

It was said they’d crossed the border, which was a few kilometers from us.

I however had seen her just the evening before, and we’d exchanged a few words. I’d had the impression she wanted to say something.

 

 

Translated by Martha Cooley

 

In 2012, when Giampiero Neri’s latest poetry collection, Il professor Fumagalli e altre figure, was published, he received the Carducci Prize for lifetime achievement. 

 

[Purchase your copy of Issue 05 here]

Untitled

Related Posts

Headshots of Miller and Gill

Marie-Andrée Gill: Poems in Translation from SPAWN

MARIE-ANDREE GILL
Marie-Andrée Gill’s Spawn is a surprising, colorful, virtuosic collection. Its brief, untitled poems span ’90s-kid nostalgia, the life cycle of fresh-water salmon, a coming of age, and the natural landscape of the Mashteuiatsh reserve, centered on Lake Piekuakami

Saudade

DIPIKA MUKHERJEE
In Itaparica, the beach broods / under ruddy sky. Two fishermen / and I search waves spitting / shells: ribbed green, a crown / for a queen; a conch; an obelisk; / a whorled shell; a thin swell / pink modica of a disc.

image of ceramic toy walmart

December 2019 Poetry Feature: New Poems for the Holiday Season

ADAM SCHEFFLER
A poem can’t tell you what it’s like / to be 83 and seven hours deep / into a Christmas Eve shift / at Walmart, cajoling / beeps from objects like the secret / name each of us will never / be sweetly called, can’t show / you her face and eyes like the