Emily Ferrara is the author of The Alchemy of Grief, a collection of poems selected to win the Bordighera Poetry Prize, and published in bilingual edition (English with Italian translation by Sabine Pascarelli) in 2007. Her poetry has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, and can be found in literary and medical journals, magazines and anthologies, and on a stone pillar in Cabot Woods in Newton, MA.
At the Bridge of Sighs
a crumpled doña lured me,
helpless as a fetus. I could not bear
the Doge’s Palace, striped gondoliers, gold-
threaded glass. Her skull tamped the ground,
arms outstretched. I gave her nothing
but this etching of words
she will never see. In the City of Light
between the mouths of the Po and the Piave,
I masqueraded in my skinbag
superluminal, fell headfirst
into the canal, a stinking tour de force
of flapping lapping luxury.
Previously published on-line in Superstition Review, Issue 4, Arizona State University, 2009
Listening for Nightingales
I tilt my head to listen for the myths
of eventide, but cannot hear
beyond the aria of frogs.
Single-minded, close my eyes, raise
my chin to moonless sky, and Listen.
Breathe a hint of lemon and wisteria.
Listen. My skin glistens midnight dew.
A cellist tempts the feathered gods
to sing. The valley fills expectancy.
Exquisite this Absence
Wild thyme and rosemary hum
with Tuscan bees. I’ve come
to the sloped olive grove to ponder
the small deceptions that provoke desire.
After years and years, passion
has burrowed in the undergrowth. I am
thousands of miles from home, my love,
where you are still sleeping.
I am feeding on the bluster
of spring – drunk on vines heavy
with promise, on the lure of barbed quills
and the pink-fingered fronds of redbud –
Tonight, as I have each night
away from you, I am
whispering your name, my love,
and I am smoldering.
In Sabine’s Kitchen
stalks of lilac stoop to face
perfection in a ruined vase
kettles simmer on the stove
while candles alter air to gold
the drape of semolina’s sheets
laid gently over pillowed sheep’s
medallions melt in rising heat
and heft of pomodoro, sweet
incessant stirrings sated soon
held in hungers’ pleasure swoon
Previously published in The Poet’s Cookbook: Recipes from Tuscany, by Grace Cavalieri and Sabine Pascarelli, Bordighera Press, 2009.
All poems on this post: © Emily Ferrara
Venice photo: © Deva Jasheway
Published with the permission of Emily Ferrara