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Poetry

From the Red Desert

By Maria Borio
Translated from Italian by Danielle Pieratti
A poet considers anonymity and solidarity in the midst of the COVID-19 outbreak in Italy.


Maria Borio reads “From the Red Desert” in the original Italian.


In the red desert I’m a single dot:
my size today, a dot
without length, width, depth,
fallen from the sky’s highest point on an earth
filled with silence and suddenly pure.
I write to you from the red zone, and here’s the truth:
the borders are drawn, the red has filled the space
without entry or exit, and all are like me,
single dots, with no illusion, in the first spring
of a millennium now changing the face of time.
From this room I write to you and whisper: if a dot
has no dimension, is it because all are contained within it?
To think is to unite—meanwhile day and night
are the same color, we learn to think of one another,
of, somehow, a new good.


“Dal deserto rosso” © 2020 by Maria Borio. By arrangement with the author. Translation © 2020 by Danielle Pieratti. All rights reserved.

English Italian


Maria Borio reads “From the Red Desert” in the original Italian.


In the red desert I’m a single dot:
my size today, a dot
without length, width, depth,
fallen from the sky’s highest point on an earth
filled with silence and suddenly pure.
I write to you from the red zone, and here’s the truth:
the borders are drawn, the red has filled the space
without entry or exit, and all are like me,
single dots, with no illusion, in the first spring
of a millennium now changing the face of time.
From this room I write to you and whisper: if a dot
has no dimension, is it because all are contained within it?
To think is to unite—meanwhile day and night
are the same color, we learn to think of one another,
of, somehow, a new good.


“Dal deserto rosso” © 2020 by Maria Borio. By arrangement with the author. Translation © 2020 by Danielle Pieratti. All rights reserved.

Dal deserto rosso

Sono un punto solo nel deserto rosso:
oggi è questa la mia dimensione, un punto
che non ha lunghezza, larghezza, profondità,
caduto dalla parte più alta del cielo su una terra
piena di silenzio e pura improvvisamente.
Ti scrivo dalla zona rossa, ed è questa la verità:
i confini sono tracciati, il rosso ha riempito lo spazio
senza entrata né uscita, e tutti sono come me,
punti soli, senza illusione, nella prima primavera
del millennio che al tempo sta cambiando la faccia.
Ti scrivo e da questa stanza sussurro che se un punto
non ha dimensioni è perché forse le ha unite tutte in sé?
Pensarsi è unirsi – mentre la notte e il giorno
hanno un unico colore, e impariamo a pensarci,
e un bene, come mai, nuovo

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