Variations [Excerpt]

The butterfly disclosed in your eyes
for an instant was my joy in being
so sorrowed by your refusal. An instant,
a being—and the wall opens its tetric mission
to the fields. Involving your happy 
mirror in my adoring hands I with-
drew the figure of a hero, and you opened the sky
and the wall to my window. Inside
your figure were mirrors, eternal
paradise, my underwater reverie, subjected
to biting of yours distinct from common
phraseology, winter suntan and illusory sign
of your envy.


    The course of my journey was a delicate flame
of silver, o girlhood that reawakens when
all the ships have lifted anchor! Course of
my girlhood was the river that drilled a silent
mount against a scarlet sky. Thus did the 
dance of death unwind: hours of prayer
and of pomp, the hours entire that break now
upon the bristling journey and damp beach, ice
that moves.


     All the world's a widower if it's true that you walk still
all the world's a widower if it's true! All the world
is true if it is true that you walk still, all the
world's a widower if you do not die! All the world
is mine if it is true that you are not alive but solely
a lantern to my oblique eyes. Blind was I left
by your birth and the consequence of the new day
is naught but night for your distance. Blind I am 
because you walk still! blind I am that you should walk
& the world's a widower & the world is blind if you walk
still seizing my celestial eyes.

From Locomotrix by Amelia Rosselli, edited and translated by Jennifer Scappettone. Copyright © 2012 by University of Chicago Press. Used by permission of the publisher.