Late evening I saw you, wolf
trotting before me
all alone on the road
nobody uses any more.
Then you were gone
high up beyond the juniper
and flowering judas.
People told me
there were no more wolves
in the forests.
In breaking daylight
the farmer called on his son to help him.
Together they piled one
torn sheep on the other.
Claudia called her daughter who
was out on the balcony searching
for a signal and was about to come in
then turned back to watch the storm
because she sensed a giant close
by her ear moaning, but she could
no longer hear the thunder’s din
and the rain had become a cloud
of dust blanking out the world
and when it cleared and the noise
had ceased, leaving an emptiness
of sound, the bridge was gone. A few
seconds and the bridge had fallen down
to the railway track, the warehouses,
the river, leaving a blue lorry still
up there balanced on the edge: its driver
remembers the cars overtaking him,
remembers the moment he saw the first
speed into air. That’s when he braked,
ran back off the tumbling motorway.
In front of him was the Fiat 500
with a couple on their way to Pisa,
the man shouting to his wife Fuori!
Get out NOW, kept screaming Fuori!
although she was running by his side
and he kept going but she turned
to look back, saw the car loaded
with gifts for the nipoti take off
like a plane and still can’t speak,
even sedated struggles to breathe.
Columns of cement lie cracked
like a giant’s limbs, torn steel rods
his dangling arteries. When our giant
was young he was magnificent.
He gleamed white against the red
and ochre of our houses. His arms
held us together. Our sky was
crossed by transversals and every
evening he would rest his elbows
on our windowsill and look in.
The sheen on their golden necks!
They come flying to greet me
twenty or more.
Black forests above, and below
the valley where clouds lap green water
Later they nod their heads
against the flies that bathe
in the rims of their deep eyes.
Two or three stand side by side
lean their haunches into one another,
one bends her back leg,
she points a hoof and
shifts her weight.
One always stands alone.
Their noses are soft as doves
their lips pass like shadows
across my palm.
Light burns into the trees, the sky
darkens and balanced on their points
the stars are riding bareback.
They are the creek men. Carcass-carriers,
grown out of reeds, forged from
mud, twigs, leaf-litter.
Their lives are mudflats, their history marshland,
tides and sky. From daybreak
to sunset they journey
erect on their raft till they reach their end.
All day they carry our remains
and wear our faces.
Today the branches
they carry are huge,
double a man’s length.
You can see it in their eyes.
Other days they carry
nothing. Still their
shoulders weigh heavy.
The mudflats at dawn
moulded like lava carry
the imprints of feeding birds
but sucking the rising tide
are larger holes. Who
has passed before me?
Sometimes behind the men
often leading them
(you will see her shadow)
– the memory-bearer.
From an assembly of bones
her breasts sway
like dry leaves.
Listen to the wind blow through them.
At low tide you can follow
her footprints only so far.