BITTERNESS

by Alex Valente

Original Italian by Amalia Guglielminetti (1881-1941), ‘Un’amarezza’.

A bitterness without word:
but absinthe and bile and venom
every bitter thing, from my bosom
gurgling to my throat stirred.

The anguish that has me slave
was no more. Only bitter-fill
was my blood, and was not still
that similar lone, slow wave.

My palate spoiled by its taste,
my voice airing its disgust,
like a flower laid to waste.

Yet, I still found another smile:
a smile so bitter with distrust
it eats your soul, leaves your mouth foul.

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