p
o
e
m
s

Letter to Marina
Milan, 23 March

 

You speak of il picco
by which you mean
the dead have risen
to their highest
number. The pigeons,
exquisite scavengers,
bow their heads
to forage and peck
at the edge
of your sill. Below
the shuttered windows
the sputter and hum
of trucks rolling
past and packed
with the newly
passed on. Close
your eyes you say
and you can feel
the engines’ ragged
rasp rattling the pane.
The birds and the wide
boulevard, the head-
board against your bed-
room wall, all of it
trembling together,
a note the choir
scales and holds.

Deborah Paredez is a professor of creative writing and ethnic studies at Columbia University. Her most recent book is Year of the Dog (BOA Editions).

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