Translated from the Italian by W. S. di Piero
There’s no one here now.
The ducks glide
one by one
toward the dark shore.
Our friends are founding a celestial city.
They’ve left us here by windows
facing the sea, brown
as a mountain.
Couriers between life and death,
dive for worms under water
and the old fisherman
waits for them to surface
with a twig of blood
in their fingers.
Leonardo Sinisgalli, 1908–1981, was an Italian poet and art critic and the author of nine collections of poetry. He founded the magazine Civilt delle Macchine and also produced and directed two documentary films, both of which won him the Biennale di Venezia award. (6/2010)
Simone Di Piero has published thirteen collections of poetry—most recently The Complaints (Carnegie Mellon University Press, 2019)—and six volumes of essays and criticism, including last year’s Fat: New and Uncollected Prose (Carnegie Mellon, 2020). His work has appeared in The Best American Essays twice, and his translation of This Strange Joy: Selected Poems of Sandro Penna (1982) won him the Academy of American Poets’ first Raiziss/de Palchi Book Prize. He was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 2001, and won the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize in 2012. He lives in San Francisco. (updated 4/2021)