Translation from Historiae by Antonella Anedda


I see the beds of those I love lining up in long rows, 
each bed a body and a name. 
Later I will fix the poem, I will make it a house
with pointed roofs perfect for the snow. Now we must leave, 
live for those who remain, carve
their form every day anew, fight
for that body that the air nevertheless will break down in gusts. 


If I had had more time there in the summer dark
with the ivy filtering through the grates
into the chamber called camera ardente because of the candles
or the pyre that waits for us, or maybe because of our ardor
when we ask of those who are leaving us: remain, 
I would have told her simple things, ordinary things,
for the last time touching her hands. 


If she had seen her
if she had seen her mortal form
opening the refrigerator wide tonight
and with her body almost entering
into that aisle of dim light, 
mutely drinking milk
as the souls drink blood
spectral mainly to herself
thirsty for whiteness, dazzled
by steel and iron
burning her finders with the ice
she would have said it wasnt she. She wasn't 
the one I left dying
so that she could let me go on. 

From Historiae by Antonella Anedda. First published in English by New York Review Books. Translation Copyright © 2023 by Susan Stewart and Patrizio Ceccagnoli.