The Moment After


Massimo Gezzi


You traced this simple gesture with your hand:
you raised it to your face,
you stretched it towards my window,
as I was driving: I looked,
and against the hazy morning
light I counted them:
eight, eight mulberries with outspread branches
like the tail of a stuffed peacock,
a procession along the line
of our gaze, so perfect
that for a moment I forgot
time-tables and connections
and I slowed down to comprehend
how one might say of eight trees in a row,
'Look, how beautiful!' just as you said,
even if they had not decided to be that way, how everything
might just be a chain of senseless alternation,
and how a gesture of the hand and a smile
are enough to make, out of eight trees
in a row, an illusion of redemption.


If you want a brick you should get
a brick, to mend a wall
or to fill up a hole
in a herringbone floor.

A brick: a solid that lives in three
dimensions; heavy, it feels
rough or porous, and, if left piled up
with others long enough, will become
a nest for centipedes, spiders, earwigs.

A brick that exists, that if split by a hammer
will sound tack just once, a beautiful sound,
a brick-sound, snappy, precise.

A brick is worth more than the words
that imitate it, resting
one on top of the other.

With poetry, I would like to make bricks.

translated from the Italian by Damiano Abeni and Moira Egan