Poems from Lerici: Sons

“And what will these boys
do when we close our eyes for good
and they’ll have to fetch for themselves?” My mother
used to say it to no one in particular, at home,
in the shop, wherever
she stepped. Not to me,
who am still here, and have seen lots
of wars and disasters,
sickness, hospitals,
also feasts, love,
and so many friends gone before their time,
tears, flowers—and it isn’t finished yet…

But like my mother
I speak of my son,
who calls me evenings
to see if I’m alive.

Paolo Bertolani
translated by Massimo Bacigalupo and Jennifer Compton

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