SHELTER

by Alex Valente

Original Italian by Antonella Anedda (1955-), from Notti di pace Occidentale.

She was running to shelter, covering her head.
She belonged to a tired image
not dissimilar from any other woman
surprised by sudden rain.


I do not mean to talk war
but talk truce
meditate on the space and so on its detail
the hand testing the wall, the candle briefly lit
and – outside – leaves shining.
Yet another fence with thorns hiding behind spikes
ground thorns that burn your heels.
What lies between the weight of before
and the falling of after:
this is what I call truce
measure that turns fear to measure
metre that does not give cover.
Close to truce is transit
from one place to another place
without a real destination
without anything in that duration to be called travel
faces distracted
as the rain hammers down.
A truce like a train needs a plain
a dream of horizon
with trees rising to the sky
as sole lances, solitary guards.

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