The full portfolio of Patrizia Cavalli’s poems can be found in the February/March issue of the American Reader, available here. Translated from Italian by Geoffrey Brock.
“I go, but where? O gods!”
Always to cafés, restaurants, museums,
swaying anorexic or bulimic
between as always two mothers
this one who loves me falsely
and would deny me all food
and that one who loves me falsely
and would kill me with food,
and me forced to choose one or the other
starve or binge and meanwhile
I’m staring at a boy’s beautiful face
so far from my true loves
hounded into tourism by these
wretched roving watchdogs.
Grave and determined each morning
after my disastrous night games
I review the lesson with grim zeal—
the lesson of fate and fortune.
But why don’t I learn? It’s all so clear!
Just yesterday they offered me a chance.
But how is it that these two entities
always have something to teach,
and why to me? Their exhausting pedagogical
industry, their exaggerated dedication—
to me? Well, I can’t believe it, but if it’s true
let them leave me in peace,
I’m not cut out for school.
I simply didn’t want to be alone.